On the 22nd January 2019 at the O2 Arena in London, British television celebrated its biggest night with the 24th annual National Television Awards.
The dominant networks in the nominations were, once again, ITV and BBC One, whose shows received 31 and 25 nominations, respectively. Of the remaining ten nominations, six went to Channel 4 shows, two went to those from BBC Two, and two more went to shows from premium channel Sky One.
There were 15 award categories at the 24th National Television Awards, bringing in two categories that were absent the year before, with Quiz Show and New Drama becoming a part of proceedings.
This year, the Comedy Award was contested for by ITV’s Benidorm, BBC One’s Mrs Brown’s Boys and their other comedy programme Peter Kay’s Car Share, E4 and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, and the Netflix comedy series Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father. Peter Kay’s Car Share came out on top, taking the award for the second year running.
Daytime TV Award
The Daytime TV Award was contested by many of the familiar faces. ITV had another strong showing in the nominations with Loose Women, This Morning, The Jeremy Kyle Show, and Good Morning Britain while Channel 4 was represented by Sunday Brunch. The award went to This Morning, which followed up on its 2018 win of the same award.
Drama Performance Award
Presented by Danny DeVito, the nominees for the Drama Performance Award were Michelle Keegan in Our Girl, Jodie Comer in Killing Eve, Richard Madden in Bodyguard, Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders, and Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who. It came as no surprise that Richard Madden walked away with the prestigious award after his performance earned so much praise. The former Game of Thrones star also earned a nomination at the Critics Choice Awards as Best Actor in a Drama Series and won a Golden Globe for his performance in Bodyguard, per IMDB.
The Drama Award is closely contested every year, as shown by the two nominations for Game of Thrones which failed to yield a win. It’s been a long time coming, but BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders finally landed the Drama Award, beating a quadruple threat from BBC One in the form of Call the Midwife, Casualty, Doctor Who, and Our Girl.
Factual Entertainment Award
There were many much-loved shows in the running for the Factual Entertainment Award, with the field of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, DIY SOS: The Big Build, The Great British Bake Off, Ambulance, and Gogglebox being very hard to separate. In the end, television veteran Paul O’Grady and his ITV show For the Love of Dogs came out on top.
New Drama Award
Despite BBC One’s The Cry and Killing Eve being nominated alongside ITV’s Girlfriends and Sky One’s A Discovery of Witches, there was very little doubt as to which programme Matthew Morrison was going to hand the New Drama Award to; BBC One’s Bodyguard completed a drama-double with the win. Rather, the question that came to mind regarding this award was will there be a season 2 of bodyguard?
With Harry Redknapp and Jamie Redknapp presenting, there were many great new characters across ongoing shows contesting for the Newcomer Award. Despite competition from Coronation Street’s Alexandra Mardell and EastEnders’ Ricky Champ, it was Emmerdale’s James Moore, portraying Ryan Stocks, who walked off of the stage with the award.
Quiz Show Award
British television boasts many great quiz shows across its channels: it almost seems necessary for a big channel to have a quiz show. Coming into the evening, it was very difficult to split BBC One’s Pointless, Channel 4’s 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, ITV’s The Chase, Sky One’s A League of their Own, and ITV’s revived quiz show Catchphrase. In the end, however, thanks to the charisma of host Bradley Walsh and chasers Shaun Wallace, Anne Hegerty, Mark Labbett, and Paul Sinha, it was The Chase which capitalised on its nomination for the Daytime TV Award in 2018 by winning the new Quiz Show Award in 2019.
Serial Drama Performance Award
Across the big three serial dramas, there’s always someone different who manages to stand out each year, regardless of how long they’ve been on the show. This year, EastEnders had two representatives in Danny Dyer and Bonnie Langford, Emmerdale also had two nominees with Emma Atkins and Lucy Pargeter, and Jack P. Shepard was nominated for his role in Coronation Street. Just over five years since joining the soap opera, Danny Dyer claimed the Serial Drama Performance Award for his role as Mick Carter in EastEnders.
Serial Drama Award
BBC One’s EastEnders, Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, and ITV’s two serial dramas Emmerdale and Coronation Street battled it out for the Serial Drama Award in 2018, with Emmerdale coming out on top. In 2019, it happened again, with the soap opera based in the Yorkshire Dales landing its third consecutive Serial Drama Award.
Talent Show Award
ITV dominates the talent show scene with The X Factor, The Voice UK, Britain’s Got Talent, and Dancing on Ice, but for the fourth year in a row, BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing reeled in the Talent Show Award.
The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award
Named after legendary television host Bruce Forsyth, the Entertainment Award goes to the best entertainment programme, as voted for by viewers. This year’s prestigious award went to I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! which bounced back by replacing its more recent casts of reality television personalities with more recognisable celebrities.
TV Judge Award
All nominees for the TV Judge Award star on ITV programmes, with David Walliams on Britain’s Got Talent, Robert Rinder on Judge Rinder, Louis Tomlinson and Robbie Williams on The X Factor, and Simon Cowell on both Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor. Comedian David Walliams landed the award for the second year running.
TV Presenter Award
Somewhat controversially given the activities and subsequent absence from television in 2018 from half of the double act, Ant and Dec landed the TV Presenter Award. This marked the 18th year in a row that Ant and Dec have won a presenter award. In fairness to Ant, as reported by the BBC, he was genuinely shocked by the win and heaped the credit onto Dec.
In a network head-to-head, ITV managed to squeak past BBC One this year with seven wins to five thanks to three of their shows winning two awards each.