BBC One scooped the top honour after a year of success with format revivals, including Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing. "To me it confirms what a strong state the channel I've inherited is in," said new channel controller Peter Fincham, before inviting his predecessor - Lorraine Heggessey - up on stage to take the credit.
"I had an absolute ball running BBC One and I consider myself extremely lucky to have run the channel for five years," she said. "What we tried to show is that pubic service broadcasting could remain a strong force in the digital age."
BBC Three succeeded BBC Four as the non-terrestrial channel of the year, with notable hits in comedy and drama. "This is such a surprise," said channel controller Stuart Murphy. "Special thanks to my boss, Jana, [who has] created an atmosphere at the BBC that embraces risk."
The surprise - yet universally popular - winner of the 'Industry Player of the Year' award was Living TV's Richard Woolfe, who triumphed over Peter Fincham, Greg Dyke, Andy Duncan and Mark Thompson. "I'm absolutely thrilled," he said. "I don't think I''m an industry player of the year. I share this award with all my colleagues at Flextech."
He added: "If I've won industry player of the year by making a lot of noise, I'm really glad to have put multichannel on the map."
Other awards went to Jamie's School Dinners (programme of the year) and Jonathan Ross (TV personality of the year).