After being pushed back not once but twice, this year’s National Television Awards were finally able to go ahead on Thursday night.
Bringing together so many big names from the world of British telly in one room always makes for an eventful evening, and this year’s ceremony was truly no exceptions.
Comedian and host of The Masked Singer Joel Dommett was on presenting duties, bringing his unashamedly cheesy sense of humour to the proceedings, with Line Of Duty and Coronation Street the two biggest-winning shows of the night.
But aside from the big wins, red carpet arrivals and obvious scene-stealing moments, here’s what else you might have missed from the 2021 NTAs…
1. An opening performance from HRVY
As we’re sure is the dream of every burgeoning popstar, this was followed by the arrival of the whole cast of ITV’s The Masked Dancer, who served as backing for the number. Sadly, Bonnie Langford resisted the urge to jump into the splits.
2. A rousing speech from Sir Trevor McDonald about the power and importance of television
This was followed by a rousing montage of shows we watched throughout the pandemic, from I May Destroy You and Normal People to Tiger King and a thing called “the news” that was supposedly quite popular while people were stuck inside?
3. Line Of Duty star Tommy Jessop soaked up the love from the crowd
He pulled some shapes while Line Of Duty celebrated the first of its two wins during this year’s NTAs.
4. Ricky Gervais’ acceptance speech was extremely on brand
“I’ll keep it short, this is already interminable,” the comedian said following After Life’s win. After hailing Netflix for their “support and total lack of interference”, he thanked those who’d voted for his show.
“Thank you so much,” Ricky added. “You’re the reason I do this… the money. You’re the second reason. I do it for the money. Cheers.”
5. The cast of Great British Bake Off reunited on stage – and reigning winner Peter sported a kilt for the occasion
There was then a flashback to 2020 as the NTAs struggled to dial in the Great British Bake Off presenters and judges to celebrate the moment. Seriously, can we leave Zoom woes in 2021?
6. Coronation Street’s Mollie Gallagher won her very first NTA in the Serial Drama Performance category
In her emotional speech, she dedicated the award “to anybody who feels like you don’t fit the mould. You’re amazing as you are”.
7. Russell T Davies also had a heartfelt dedication after It’s A Sin’s victory
Highlighting parallels between the AIDS crisis and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the It’s A Sin writer took a moment to honour “those we lost, those who lived, those who learnt and those we loved”.
8. Jenny Ryan from The Chase’s ensemble
9. And Stephen Mulhern’s reaction to The Chase’s producer pointing out he’d lost “not once but twice”
He was joking, we should probably stress.
10. Gogglebox star Julie Malone paid tribute to the cast members who have died recently
In among the celebrations, Julie took a moment to remember those from the Gogglebox family who have died in the last 18 months, including “everyone’s favourite grandma” June Bernicoff.
11. Kate Garraway won the inaugural Authored Documentary prize
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Kate Garraway gave a special shout out to her husband, Derek Draper, who is still struggling with Covid-related complications, after contracting coronavirus in March 2020.
“He should have had the chance to tell his own story,” she said. “Derek, you’re going to get the chance – believe! The hope is real.”
12. At 10 years old, Jude Riordan is now the youngest winner in NTAs history
The Coronation Street star won Best Newcomer on the night – and had to be lifted up to the mic by Joel Dommett to deliver his speech.
“Oh my word, this is amazing,” Jude told the crowd. “I’d just like to say thank you to my fans for voting for me and the Corrie cast and crew for helping me, and my friends and family for supporting me.”
13. As sure as night follows day, Ant and Dec picked up Best Presenter
This marked Ant and Dec’s 20th year in succession triumphing in that category, a truly remarkable feat.
“When we won this award for the first time, Tony Blair was prime minister and Newcastle United had qualified for the Champions’ League,” Ant joked. “That’s how long ago it was.”
14. This Morning won its 11th consecutive National Television Award
“It’s an abnormal world,” Holly Willoughby said. “We just wanted to give you a normal morning.”
Sore heads in the morning is a distinct possibility…
15. And finally, Piers Morgan got booed
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