Military drama wins big

Star Awards: Military drama When Duty Calls wins four trophies

Channel 8 military drama When Duty Calls was the biggest winner at last night's Star Awards, with a total of four trophies, including Best Drama Series and Best Theme Song.

Chowing down uncooked fish for a scene in the drama paid off for actor Desmond Tan, who won his first Star Award for Best Actor.

The 31-year-old had asked to be filmed eating the untreated raw fish to better portray his sergeant character's tale of survival, even though the script had required him to just describe the experience.

Talking to the media backstage after his win, he thanked the series' producers, friends and family, and joked: "I also have to thank the fish that I ate."

The series also won Kym Ng, 47, her first acting award. Better known as a television host, she was named Best Supporting Actress for playing a caring mother with a secret.

Backstage, she said: "I am very happy but I really didn't expect this. My heart is beating so fast, can you hear it?"

The Lead, a drama about a group of friends trying to make it in show business, also nabbed some top awards.

It won Rebecca Lim the Best Actress trophy, ironically for playing a television actress who cannot act.

This is the second time the 31-year-old was named Best Actress.

She won the same award for playing a geeky idol drama addict in the 2015 series Yes We Can.

On stage, she said with tears running down her cheeks: "I am still feeling my way in acting. I hope I can continue to improve and eventually be considered an excellent actress."

The Best Supporting Actor award went to Chen Hanwei, 48, for playing a martial arts stuntman in The Lead. He had previously won Best Actor five times and Best Supporting Actor once, leading presenter Christopher Lee to joke that he would not have any space at home for another trophy.

The award for Best Programme Host went to Quan Yi Fong, the fifth time she has won in the category.

Veteran actor Chen Shucheng, 68, was given the Evergreen Artist Award, while Chantelle Ng, the 22-year-old daughter of actress Lin Meijiao, won the Best Newcomer Award.

Tears were shed among the stars in the audience when longtime actress Jin Yinji, 71, was named one of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artists for the first time.

She said: "Life really begins when you are 70."

The annual Star Awards is organised by Mediacorp to celebrate the best performances and programmes on Channel 8.