Didn't he do well ... Brucie honoured but Corrie crashes at the telly Oscars
DUO: Ant and Dec stay TV kings with award for 10th year in a row
It was a night for the veterans at the National Television Awards with two seasoned stars carrying off the big prizes.
There was a Special Recognition award -- and a standing ovation -- for Bruce Forsyth, while David Jason was shocked to win another prize in a glittering career.
But there were gasps and stunned looks from the Coronation Street cast, beaten in the soap category by EastEnders, despite the recent spectacular tram crash storyline.
But the night belonged to Strictly's Brucie. Stephen Fry, who presented last night's award, described the showman as "a legend".
He added: "That is a word that is often overused but in this case never more deservedly."
The star, who began his career as Boy Bruce the Mighty Atom, joked: "This being this kind of a night, this would be a good night to announce my retirement but I'm not bloody going to."
He paid tribute to his wife and thanked the viewers, who he called "Mr and Mrs Public", for their support.
Strictly co-host Tess Daly said he was "definitely a 10, he loves to dance".
Merton, who starred with Forsyth when he presented an episode of satirical show Have I Got News For You, said: "There are some people who aren't the retiring type and I suspect Bruce is one of those. He'll have to be dragged off."
David Jason picked up the award for Most Outstanding Drama Performance -- despite earlier predicting on the red carpet he would not win.
But his role as world-weary copper Jack Frost saw off challenges from Doctor Who actor Matt Smith, Ashes to Ashes man Philip Glenister and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch.
Jason, best known for his role as loveable wideboy Del Trotter, said: "This is a real turn-up for the books. I just have to thank you all who voted for me."
EastEnders was crowned top soap and also picked up awards for Most Popular Newcomer for Ricky Norwood, who plays Fatboy, and Outstanding Serial Drama Performance for Lacey Turner's role as Stacey Slater.
Norwood dedicated his award to his grandmother, saying: "(The award) is going on the mantelpiece with a picture of my nan, who always loved EastEnders.
"My nan was a very wise woman as well as a very straightforward woman. She always supported me."
Other winners included ITV1's Benidorm, which carried off the award for Most Popular Comedy Programme, and Waterloo Road, which won Most Popular Drama.
Zen star Rufus Sewell handed out the Digital Choice award to the cast of teen comedy The Inbetweeners.
Ant and Dec picked up the Most Popular Entertainment Presenter award -- a category they have dominated, having won it for 10 years in a row.
The award for topical magazine show went to This Morning -- and the result might cause a problem for chef Gino D'Acampo, who promised to cook in the nude if they came out on top.
Top Gear won the prize for Most Popular Factual Programme and its co-host Jeremy Clarkson said: "There hasn't been a fact on Top Gear for seven years now -- it's just three middle-aged men falling over."
James May got a laugh when he thanked the woman who had tucked in their mics -- a reference to the Sky sexism row.