Thursday, 27 January 2011


Last night Dermot O'Leary hosted the National Television Awards 2011 live from London's O2 Arena, revealing on ITV1 the results of a massive public poll.

The show opened with O'Leary missing the ceremony and repairing his mistake with a little help of the Doctor (Matt Smith) and the TARDIS. Through a series of blue box bloopers we learned that our favourite time lord was responsible of Ant & Dec, that Bruce "Brucie" Forsyth would still be there in the future, or that BGT judge Amanda Holden will become Prime minister someday (brr, terrifying!) Too bad the TARDIS didn't appear on stage only after the number of I'm a celeb's Stacie Solomon and Shaun Ryder.

Benidorm won the Gong of the Best Comedy programme over Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Harry Hill's TV Burp and Outnumbered. I'm a Celebrity... got the Best Entertainment Programme versus QI, Big Brother and Mock the Week. Matt di Angelo (Hustle) presented the Best newcomer category and Ricky Norwood from EastEnders received the Gong.

Then came what will certainly be the most commented segment of the evening: Doctor Who, Shameless, comprehensive school drama Waterloo Road and Sherlock were nominated for the Best Drama, which went to... Waterloo Road. Well, Doctor Who already has several Gongs but who could expect that Sherlock, which was the darling of viewers and critics (except on this blog) last summer, would lose against Waterloo.

Lacey Turner (EastEnders) won the Best Serial Drama performance. Ant and Dec won the Best Entertainment presenter Gong - presented by Jonathan "This is not the BBC" Ross - for the tenth year in a row, against Dermot O'Leary, Paul O'Grady and Davina McCall. The duo was live from Cardiff on BGT duty so Simon Cowell picked up the award for them.

ITV1's This Morning won Best Topical Magazine. Former MP turned Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ann Widecombe presented the Best Factual Programme, which went to Top Gear over Celebrity MasterChef, Junior Apprentice and celeb genealogy programme Who do you think you are? Best Talent show went to... (what else?) The X Factor. And television legend David Jason won a much deserved Best Drama Performance against Matt Smith, Philip "Gene Genie" Glenister and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock). This Gong was given by Jim Carter, one of the ensemble cast who enchanted us in the wonderful Downton Abbey last year.

Talking about TV legends, Brucie received the Special Recognition Award from Stephen Fry (who got it in the previous edition). Watching those retrospective clips made us feel much older than the man. Best Serial Drama went to EastEnders versus the usual suspects. And the Digital Choice award went to E4's The Inbetweeners.

As for all award ceremonies, the relevance of both the nominations and the votes can and will be discussed but as usual the NTA were convivial, entertaining and popular in the good meaning of this word. The programme is a better celebration of the British TV industry than the awards themselves and puts a ton of dust on other award shows.

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