Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie are on stage to accept the award for Best TV Series (presented by Magic Radio), which goes to the acclaimed BBC miniseries The Night Manager. "Thank you to absent friends," says Tom Hiddleston, acknowledging Olivia Colman, "who is never around when she wins awards. Which is very cool."
"They say never meet your heroes," says Tom, in a gracious and humble acceptance speech. "I'm lucky enough that I wouldn't be standing here if I hadn't met mine. I've been lucky enough to work with them. And if I haven't worked with them, I've attempted an impersonation of them on the Graham Norton show."
Hugh Laurie is here to present the first of our three special awards this evening, the Empire Hero award – though he almost arrives on stage before his introduction has finished, in a charmingly awkward manner. "I horribly mistimed that," he says self-deprecatingly. "I don't really know what I'm doing! It's just so lovely to be out." The recipient of this particular award is a "feroiciously intelligent, brave, kind, good-humoured human being. In short, a hero." The winner of this year's Empire Hero award is none other than Tom Hiddleston!