Sunday, January 23, 2022 | 02:21 pm

National Television Awards 2021: Ant and Dec ‘Overwhelmed’ by 20th Win

National Television Awards 2021: Ant and Dec ‘Overwhelmed’ by 20th Win

Ant and Dec have underlined their status as the nation’s favorite TV hosts after their 20th consecutive win at the National Television Awards.

The pair, whose full names are Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, has won the best TV presenter trophy at every NTAs ceremony since 2001.

Donnelly described their win as “overwhelming”, while McPartlin said: “You’ve no idea how special this is”.

The night’s other winners included Line of Duty, Gogglebox and It’s A Sin.

The BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 dominated the top categories – with Ricky Gervais’s Netflix comedy After Life marking the only prize for a streaming service.

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Accepting their 20th award for best TV presenter, McPartlin said: “Thank you very much indeed.

“We were talking in the car on the way here and the first year we won an NTA, Tony Blair was the prime minister, and Newcastle United qualified for the Champions League. That just goes to show how long ago that was.

“But this one means the most – 20 years, I’m shaking”.

Donnelly added: “It’s pretty overwhelming, to be honest with you. So much has changed in both of our lives since 2001, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how unbelievably grateful we are that you take time, year after year, to vote for us and put us up here”.

“We are so honored and humbled and grateful. It means the absolute world”.

Line of Duty received a special recognition award and was also named best-returning drama, despite complaints from some viewers who were disappointed by the conclusion of the sixth series.

“This means so much,” said star Martin Compston as he thanked viewers and paid tribute to creator Jed Mercurio.

“We started as a wee show on Wednesday night on BBC Two, and now we’re the biggest drama on TV. And it’s all because of the fans, we owe everything to you”.

“We genuinely don’t take this for granted, thank you and who knows – maybe we’ll be back again”.

Accepting the prize for the best factual program, Gogglebox star Julie Malone paid tribute to the four stars of the show who have died since the last NTAs ceremony – Andrew Michael, Pete McGarry, Mary Cook, and June Bernicoff.

“I’d like to dedicate this award to all the people we’ve lost sadly over the past 18 months,” Malone said. “Andy, Pete, Mary, and everybody’s favorite grandma, June, who’s now reunited with Leon”.

Kate Garraway won the newly authored documentary category for Finding Derek, which followed her husband Derek Draper’s long battle with Covid-19.

Draper battled with the virus which had ravaged his body for more than a year before finally returning home in April.

“Thank you so much for voting,” Garraway said. “I wonder if the reason why you did is that our story is your story. I think we’ve all been touched by the pandemic, whether its livelihoods, mental health, all the other extraordinary documentaries that have been highlighted and nominated tonight, they’ve also been affected by the pandemic”.

She told families still suffering the effects of coronavirus: “Whatever you’re going through, you’re not forgotten. We want the joy back. We want it to be over, but if you’re still living with the scars, the fight goes on.

“But most of all, Derek, who should be here and should have had the chance to tell his own story – Derek, you’re going to get the chance, believe. The hype is real”.

Channel 4 drama It’s a Sin, which followed a group of friends in the 1980s during the Aids crisis, was named best new drama.

“Honestly this show is so brilliant from everybody in the cast to the crew, production, behind the scenes. It was the hugest privilege of my life to be a part of it,” said the show’s star Olly Alexander.

Writer Russell T Davies added: “This is a story in which many people lost their lives, so it’s nice to dedicate this to those we lost, those who lived, those who learned, and those we loved”.

A video montage introduced by Sir Trevor McDonald reflected on the impact Covid-19 had on the UK, as well as rounding up other major news events since the last NTAs ceremony aired in January 2020.

The death of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prime Minister Boris Johnson being admitted into intensive care after contracting Covid-19, the announcement of the vaccine, and England making it to the Euro 2020 final were all highlighted in the montage which reflected an eventful 18 months for the UK.