Cowell 'Britain's best TV judge'

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He joined Kevin Spacey, Sir Ian McKellen, Micheal Sheen and Micheal McIntyre in accepting gongs at The Variety Club's annual awards.

Frost/Nixon Oscar nominee Sheen was awarded Film Actor of the Year and McIntyre added to his clutch of other accolades with The Comedy Award.

Spacey was recognised for his work at the Old Vic theatre where he has been artistic director since 2003 and took away the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre.

It was a good night for the stage all round as Sir Ian received The Bernard Delfont Award for Outstanding Contribution to Showbusiness from his Waiting for Godot co-star Patrick Stewart.

The old guard of the New Romantics met the new wave of electro-pop as Spandau Ballet collected their award for Outstanding Contribution to Popular Music from girl-group The Saturdays.

Justin Lee Collins of the Sunday Night Project was named as Television Presenter of the Year and 18-year-old Pixie Lott scooped the Caron Keating Breakthrough Talent Award.

Britain's Got Talent finalist Faryl Smith picked up The Classical Award from DJ Simon Bates and The Soldiers, three servicemen who last month released their debut album.

A host of stars including Alesha Dixon, Ben Kingsley, Joe Calzaghe and Dame Kelly Holmes were there to watch them accept the awards.

The annual show raises funds for The Variety Club which helps sick, disabled and disadvantaged children and young people.

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