The police procedural won the award for returning drama during a glitzy ceremony at London’s O2 Arena on Thursday night, beating off competition from the likes of The Crown and Call The Midwife.
Jed Mercurio’s hit series, which aired its sixth and potentially last instalment earlier this year, was also awarded the special recognition award at the NTAs with star Adrian Dunbar hinting at a new series, saying: “Who knows, we might be back.”
Greenock-born Compston said in the winners room: “I think we must be the most nominated show who’s lost it so it felt great.
“We started as this wee show on a Wednesday night on BBC Two, and to see how its grown and it’s all because of the fans.
“Their enthusiasm and dedication never ceases to amaze me, so this is for everybody who’s voted for us so thank you very much.”
While discussing Mercurio’s writing on the show, Compston added: “I think that’s the strongest he’s ever written, so it makes you go, ‘Will we ever go again’, which we know we won’t but it gets you hoping because he was writing better than ever.”
Elsewhere, Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly won the best TV presenter prize at the National Television Awards for a 20th consecutive time.
The presenting duo faced competition from Piers Morgan, who had set his sights on ending their domination at the event.
However, he did not attend and shared a photo on Twitter apparently showing him watching the ceremony on his TV at home.
Taking to the stage, McPartlin said: “We were talking in the car on the way here and the first year we won an NTA, Tony Blair was the prime minister and Newcastle United qualified for the Champions League. It just goes to show how long ago it was.
“But do you know what? This one means the most. Twenty years. This is really, really special. You have no idea how special this is.”
The ceremony also saw It’s A Sin, After Life, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, and The Great British Bake Off scoop awards.
The new drama prize went to It’s A Sin, with creator Russell T Davies dedicating the win to “those we lost, those who lived, those who learned and those we loved” during the Aids crisis.
After Life won the comedy award, beating shows such as Sex Education, The Vicar Of Dibley and Friday Night Dinner.
The award for challenge show went to The Great British Bake Off, fending off competition from Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins and Love Island.
Peter Sawkins, an accounting and finance student from Edinburgh, was crowned the show’s youngest ever winner at 20 last year and he accepted the prize on stage wearing a kilt.
Judges Paul Hollywood and Dame Prue Leith and presenters Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding appeared via video link.
Kate Garraway won the award for authored documentary for Finding Derek, which offered candid insight into her family life while her husband, former political adviser Derek Draper, spent a year in hospital being treated for coronavirus.