21 and counting! Ant and Dec once again crowned kings of TV presenting at National Television Awards

Saturday Night Takeaway star Stephen Mulhern picked up the award on behalf of Ant and Dec. Credit: PA

Ant and Dec have cemented their status as the kings of prime-time television.

The geordie duo were once again crowned 'best TV presenter' at the National Television Awards. It is the 21st time in a row that the pair have picked up title.

They were unable to collect their award in person after both recently tested positive for Covid-19, with the trophy collected instead by Stephen Mulhern.

But responding to the news on social media, they thanked fans "from the bottom of our hearts" and said it had made them feel "tonnes better".

McPartlin and Donnelly won their first National Television Award for most popular television presenter in 2001, for their work on Pop Idol.

At the 2022 awards, they once again fended off competition from fellow industry heavyweights including Alison Hammond, Bradley Walsh and Graham Norton.

Collecting the award, Mulhern said McPartlin and Donnelly had given him a speech to read - but he ripped it up.

He added: "Full respect to the guys, 21 years on the trot, come on. But the reality is, this baby is coming home with me."

Responding to Mulhern's antics on Twitter, the pair wrote: "Oi @StephenMulhern, it took ages to write that speech!", later warning him to "keep that award safe".

Addressing their fans, they said: "Thank you SO much for voting for us, it is always appreciated and never taken for granted.

"You've made us feel tons better!"

In a separate tweet, the pair added: "From the bottom of our hearts we are so so grateful. Love ya's!"

The pair announced they would not be able to attend the NTAs due to positive coronavirus tests on Wednesday, after revealing they had not been feeling well for several days.

"Sadly, it's true... We even get ill together," they said.

Later in the night while collecting the daytime prize with the This Morning team, Hammond joked that she was "grateful" for this award, but that she felt she should have won in the TV presenter category instead of McPartlin and Donnelly.

She said: "I ain't going to lie but we all know I should have won one of these as well.

"Bradley Walsh, Graham Norton and the legends that are Ant and Dec are amazing, but let's be honest, I should have won one but This Morning won one anyways."

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