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Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021

National Television Awards 2021: Seven highlights from the ceremony

National Television Awards 2021: Seven highlights from the ceremony

The crowd erupted as Ant and Dec scored their 20th consecutive win at the National Television Awards on Thursday. Everyone, it seemed, was simply delighted for them.

Well, almost everyone.

"Wow! What a shock!" tweeted Piers Morgan sarcastically as the Geordie duo beat him to the prize. "Just as well I'm not there," he added, attaching the infamous gif of him storming out of the Good Morning Britain studio in March.

He might not have been there in the flesh, but plenty of other nominees were. The NTAs are one of the first awards ceremonies to have taken place in person since lockdown restrictions eased in the UK - and the sense of joy and relief in the air was unmistakeable.

"We are here live in a real room with real people, how good does it feel?" said host Joel Dommett as he kicked off proceedings.

Awards ceremonies can often drag on a bit, but this year's NTAs fizzed with energy as the stars of the small screen gathered to recognise the TV shows which kept us all sane during 18 months of lockdowns and sourdough starters. Here are seven highlights:

1. Joel Dommett was a *perfect* host
Joel Dommett rode in on a scooter and enlisted famous friends like Mo Gilligan to help him find an opening act

You wouldn't have known it was The Masked Singer presenter's first time hosting the NTAs - he did an excellent job holding everything together, bossing the ceremony's launch with a genuine funny opening monologue.

Here are a few of his best one-liners:

*  "It's been an unbelievable couple of years for soaps, due to everyone washing their hands more. Sales have gone through the roof, just like Sally at the factory in Coronation Street."
*  "EastEnders are in the house. And we've got some Goggleboxers out of their house."
*  "Michael McIntyre is here, he literally invented The Wheel."
*  "Call The Midwife is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It is a show that always delivers."
*  "Ant and Dec are here. I have to stay two metres away from them, nothing to do with Covid, they just insist on it."
*  "You've had performances from JLS and HRVY tonight. Two performances. Zero vowels."

2. Tommy Jessop put Strictly's stars to shame

The actor, who played Terry Boyle in Line of Duty, threw some serious moves as he took to the stage with the cast and crew of the police drama, which won the returning drama award.

He began by shaking his hips, which the crowd went wild for, before he got down on one knee and recreated Bruce Forsyth's famous "thinker's pose", holding his fist to his head.

While talking about Jessop, the show's producer, Simon Heath, said: "We put him through everything on that season six. We tried to drown him, batter him, interrogating him, and he came through it all, what a star he is."

So it's only fair to give him his moment in the spotlight really.

3. We're going to need a bigger microphone stand

We hope Joel Dommett has been working out.

The delightful Jude Riordan, who plays Sam Blakeman in Coronation Street, couldn't quite reach the microphone when he went up to collect his award for best newcomer. (He is only 10, after all.)

Luckily Dommett came to the rescue, hoisting Jude up in the air as the young actor told the crowd: "Oh my word. This is amazing.

"I would just like to say thank you to all my fans for voting for me, and all my Corrie cast and crew for helping me, and my family for supporting me. And yeah, that's mainly it. THANK YOU GUYS!"

Even more enjoyable than the speech itself was the look of sheer pain etched on Joel's face as he struggled to hold Jude's weight throughout it, willing it to end.

4. Ricky Gervais teased After Life's third season
Ricky Gervais attended the London ceremony with partner Jane Fallon

Netflix's best comedy win for After Life marked the only award of the night to be won by a streaming service.

(Don't feel too sorry for them, it's the Emmy Awards next week and The Crown is going to do very well indeed.)

"Thank you to Netflix for their support and total lack of interference," said creator, writer and star Ricky Gervais. "Thanks to the people at home who voted for it, thank you so much. You're the reason I do this, [after] the money."

Speaking in the winners' room about the positive reception to the show, he told the Press Association: "I'm still surprised by it. It's a show about a man who wants to kill himself and his wife dies of cancer, and people go 'OK, this sounds funny'.

"And the reaction has been incredible, people come up to me on the streets and they go 'I lost my brother or I lost my mother', and you realise that everyone's grieving. However dark something is they want to see themselves on the screen, and it opens the conversation."

He revealed the forthcoming third season could potentially be released before Christmas, but the one spoiler he would reveal was that the dog does not die (thank goodness - Brandy is our favourite character in the show).

5. Michael Sheen's banter was a Good Omen

"I'm not quite sure how you pronounce this but I think it's David Tenn-ant?" joked Michael Sheen as he read out the nominations for drama performance.

The pair, of course, know each other fairly well, having worked together on Amazon's Good Omens and the BBC series Staged.

Tennant went on to win the award a few moments later, for his performance in the ITV drama Des, based on the serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

But as he took to the stage and was on the cusp of taking his trophy, Sheen said: "I'm afraid David can't be with us tonight, but he very much wanted the award to go to me."

Tennant pretended to walk away before finally releasing it from Sheen's grasp. "Thank you Michael, I know how difficult it was to hand that over," he joked.

After thanking the cast and crew of Des, Tennant added: "On a personal note, I want to thank [my wife] Georgia and my family, we had just had a baby when we filmed this, and the last thing Georgia needed was me sloping off to go to a very dark place and play a serial killer every day."

6. Barley the dog was the people's true winner

"Paul O'Grady's For The Love of Dogs is in the next category, so I've invited Barley along," said Joel Dommett off the back of an advert break.

"We're also now in part six and I thought maybe a dog would work better than jokes to grab your attention."

He was right. The audience cheered and awww'd for the adorable Barley, who ended up stealing the whole show.

He did, however, fail to perform the trick Dommett had rehearsed with him beforehand. "They say never work with dogs, or Bradley Walsh," concluded Dommett.

7. Gogglebox chaos

Most viewers would agree that Julie Malone gave a truly touching speech as she accepted Gogglebox's prize for best factual.

Paying tribute to the four cast members of the show who have died in the past 18 months, it was heartfelt, emotional and sweet.

But her husband Tom, one of the TV review show's most-loved stars, had a few more words to add.

As the music began to play the cast off the stage, Tom made his way to the microphone and shouted: "Hang on, I want to say something for all the lorry drivers out there, know what I mean?

"And the armed forces! Yeah! The armed forces who've done such a great job lately."

It was slightly chaotic to be honest but also one of the highlights of the whole ceremony - and the crowd cheered as Tom finally got his moment in front of the mic.

As Dommett attempted to get things back under control as the Goggleboxers left the stage, he said: "I don't know what's worse, him or the dog."


Ant and Dec, Line of Duty, Corrie and more - watch the highlights of the National Television Awards 2021


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