Singapore actresses Joanne Peh and Lina Ng won big at the 25th Asian Television Awards last Saturday (Jan 16) for their roles in local drama Last Madame.

Peh, 37, took home the award for Best Leading Female Performance – Digital for her role as a feisty brothel owner Fung Lan in the English-language drama.

MediaCorp’s first M18 drama, Last Madame featured a much-talked-about nude sex scene between Peh and co-star Jeff Chou.

It was her most risque script since she made her acting debut in 2002, topping even the rape scene she endured in The Little Nyonya (2008).

The 12-parter Last Madame, which weaves a present-day plot with another set in the 1930s, involves a brothel in a shophouse, as well as murder, intrigue and spies.

Veteran actress Ng, 46, won best supporting actress for her portrayal of capable majie Ah Yoke, who assists the mamasan at her House of Phoenix pleasure house.

The local drama, which premiered in September 2019 on Toggle (now rebranded as meWATCH) , also won Best Digital Fiction Programme/Series at the annual awards ceremony, which was televised in the region as well as streamed on social media platforms.

Other Singapore winners include Galatta 360, a show on Mediacorp’s Vasantham channel, which was named Best Talk Show.

The best actor award went to Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong for drama The Republic, while Taiwan’s Yogurt Lee bagged best actress for her role in mini-series The Rootless. K-drama Itaewon Class was named Best Drama Series.

In the wake of her win, Peh posted on Instagram to thank those involved in the production, especially Ng, “for those excruciating moments we shared on set”.

She also thanked Taiwanese actor Chou, who bared all for his steamy bed scenes with her, and MediaCorp actor Brandon Wong, who played a menacing triad boss, “for creating a safe space for me throughout our intimate scenes”.

In October last year (2020), Last Madame was also named Best Asian Drama jointly with K-drama When The Camellia Blooms at a competition held under the Busan International Film Festival.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.