Alan Halsall, best known as Corrie's Tyrone Dobbs - on-screen foster son of Tarmey's much-loved character Jack Duckworth - also picked up the award for serial drama performance.
Among those he thanked were former co-star Liz Dawn (who played Jack's wife Vera) and Tarmey himself, saying: "I love you, pal."
The actor, who has been involved - alongside Natalie Gumede - in a major storyline which sees his character suffering domestic abuse, later said backstage that Tarmey would be looking down on him.
"He'll be having a pint of Guinness for me. His wife asked me to wear his watch tonight, so I've got it on," Halsall said.
Meanwhile, hit period drama Downton Abbey scooped the award for best drama, beating tough competition from the likes of Sherlock and Doctor Who.
Armagh's Colin Morgan picked up the prize for best male drama performance for his role in Merlin and said he had a "fantastic time" making the programme, which was axed by the BBC last year.
Ant and Dec were named best entertainment presenters for the 12th year running and were presented with their award by Simon Cowell, live in the middle of auditions for Britain's Got Talent.
Their show I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! won best entertainment programme, while Strictly Come Dancing took the best talent show award over rivals including The X Factor.
An emotional Phillip Schofield thanked This Morning viewers for sticking with them through "thick and thin" as he and co-presenter Holly Willoughby picked up the best daytime programme award.
EastEnders actor David Witts, who plays Joey Branning, was delighted with his newcomer award - but had to tell off his female fans for booing his girlfriend during his acceptance speech.
"You can't boo her, she's beautiful," he protested.
A landmark award for coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London saw Claire Balding, Lord Seb Coe, Sir Chris Hoy and David Weir take to the stage to reflect on the legacy of the Games.
Joanna Lumley was also awarded a special recognition award, which saw a host of stars pay tribute to the career which has seen her go from model to actress to humanitarian.
Absolutely Fabulous co-star Jennifer Saunders, movie director Martin Scorsese, Prime Minister David Cameron, documentary maker Sir David Attenborough and Coronation Street stalwart Bill Roache were among those who offered reflections.
"I'm so touched by those things all those people said - I'm so thrilled you saw me kissing Leo ..." a tearful Lumley said, referring to footage from Scorsese's Wolf of Wall Street where she kisses Leonardo DiCaprio.
If you missed the NTAs, catch up on the UTV Player here.
- Drama - Downton Abbey
- Drama performance male - Colin Morgan, Merlin
- Drama performance female - Miranda Hart, Call The Midwife
- Landmark Award - London 2012
- Factual entertainment - Paul O'Grady, For The Love Of Dogs
- Situation comedy - Mrs Brown's Boys
- Talent show - Strictly Come Dancing
- Comedy panel show - QI
- Entertainment presenter - Ant & Dec
- Entertainment programme - I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
- Special Recognition - Joanna Lumley
- Serial drama performance - Alan Halsall, Coronation Street
- Documentary series - Frozen Planet
- Daytime programme - This Morning
- Newcomer - David Witts, EastEnders