National Television Awards: Ant and Dec make history by winning Best Presenter Award for 20th time

Ant and Dec in the press room after winning the TV Presenter award for the 20th consecutive time. Credit: PA

Ant and Dec have made history at the National Television Awards after being crowned winners of the Best Presenter gong for the 20th consecutive year. The pair beat the likes of Piers Morgan, Holly Willoughby and Bradley Walsh to the top position at this year's ceremony, which took place at London's O2 arena.

Holly Willoughby attending the National Television Awards 2021 held at the O2 Arena. Credit: PA

Morgan, who exited Good Morning Britain earlier this year over comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex, did not attend, instead sharing a photo on Twitter apparently showing him watching the ceremony on his TV at home.

Ant and Dec, the presenting duo best known for hosting I’m A Celebrity, thanked their loyal fans for their support throughout the past two decades before their acceptance speeches.

The first award of the night, the Bruce Forsyth entertainment award, went to I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

The cast and crew of I'm A Celebrity.. Get Me Out Of Here! at the 2021 NTAs. Credit: PA

Before Ant and Dec's unprecedented streak of success, Michael Barrymore was the last winner to clinch the Best Presenter award in 2000.

Addressing the audience on Thursday evening, McPartlin said: “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. It just goes to show how long ago it was. “But do you know what? This one means the most. 20 years. This is really, really special. You have no idea how special this is.”

Before their 20th consecutive win, Dec told ITV News that their award success run will inevitably come to an end at some point

This year's awards- the first since January 2020 - also saw K ate Garraway movingly dedicate her NTA to her husband Derek Draper who is at home recovering from Covid-19.

The Good Morning Britain host won the authored documentary award for 'Finding Derek', which gave full access to her home while her husband's life hung in the balance on a ventilator as he suffered from coronavirus.

Mr Draper, a former lobbyist and political adviser, was said to be in a "deeply critical condition" after being hospitalised with coronavirus at the end of March 2020.

“We want the joy back. We want it to be over. But if you are still living with the stars the fight goes on," Garraway said.

"But of course most of all, Derek, you should be here and he should have had the chance to tell his own story. Derek, you are going to get the chance. Believe. The hope is real.”

Garraway told ITV News it would be tough to get on stage to accept an award if she won

The police drama Line of Duty won the award for returning drama, beating programmes including The Crown and Call The Midwife, star Adrian Dunbar hinted the show could return for another series, saying "who knows, we might be back.”

Martin Compston, who played Anti-Corruption Unit Detective Inspector Steve Arnott in the BBC show, also hinted to ITV News ahead of the ceremony that the series could return to screens.

"It does gives you an appetite to maybe go again. So, we will see how it goes when everything settles down and we will have a chat," he told ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar on the red carpet earlier in the evening.

'It does gives you an appetite to maybe go again', Compston said

There were plenty of other successes at this year's long-awaited NTAs.

The new drama prize went to It’s A Sin, with creator Russell T Davies dedicating the win to “those we lost, those who lived, those who learned and those we loved” during the Aids crisis.

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After Life won the comedy award, beating shows such as Sex Education, The Vicar Of Dibley and Friday Night Dinner.

The award for challenge show went to The Great British Bake Off, fending off competition from Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins and Love Island.