8 of the most memorable moments from the National Television Awards 2019

From John Barrowman's opening number to Ant's emotional tribute to Dec – here's the lowdown on this year's ceremony

National Television Awards, Getty, BBC Pictures, ITV Hub

The National Television Awards are always an eventful affair. The booze is flowing, the room is packed with celebs and the entire evening is steered by the ever professional Dermot O’Leary.

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Needless to say, there are plenty of best bits from the 2019 ceremony – here’s a selection of some of our favourites…


1. David Budd is Dermot’s new protection officer

David Budd in Bodyguard, BBC

We’ve all missed David Budd. So what a nice surprise it was to see his perfectly coiffed hair appearing in the opening moments of this year’s NTAs. As Dermot raced against traffic to make it to the O2 on time, David was riding shotgun in a cleverly cut together clip which saw the NTAs host turn up just a few minutes too late. So a last-minute replacement had to step in…

2. John Barrowman’s opening number

Yup, that replacement was Torchwood and I’m a Celebrity star John Barrowman who ‘manned the ship’ for those crucial few minutes, tap dancing his way across the NTAs stage, belting out some TV-themed lyrics and busting out some fab-u-lous jazz hands. The audience loved it.

3. Ken and Lily win all our hearts

If you’re yet to meet Ken and Lily, you need to clear an evening and binge your way through Old People’s Home for Four-Year-Olds. Young Lily and 87-year-old widower Ken have struck up the most adorable friendship and the NTAs invited them on stage to hand out the award for Best Daytime Show to This Morning. Suffice to say, they brought out all our emotions in the process…

4. Bradley Walsh FaceTimes from South Africa

None of the Doctor Who cast were in attendance this year – they were off in South Africa busy filming episodes for the next series. But Bradley Walsh wasn’t going to miss out on The Chase’s win for Best Quiz Show. After the Chasers had made their way up on stage, there appeared a miniature Bradders – FaceTiming on an iPhone! None of us had a clue what he was trying to say but he looked chuffed to bits.

5. Danny Dyer’s sweary speech

Danny Dyer, BBC Pictures

If you’re going to give Danny Dyer an award, you’ve got to expect a swear word or two to slip out – he’s not the sort of man who pays attention to watershed restrictions. So it should come as no surprise that the EastEnders actor – on stage to accept Best Serial Drama Performance – apologised for “getting all f***ing emotional” (yup, the NTAs might be broadcast live but we have the luxury of the asterisk).

“Do not let where you come from define where you’re going in life,” he told the audience, before paying tribute to playwright Harold Pinter.”He believed in me when no one else did.”

6. Ant pays emotional tribute to Dec

No one was quite sure whether 17-time winners Ant and Dec were going to take home the prize for Best TV Presenters. After all, it’s been a turbulent year for the pair with Ant taking time off from TV work after pleading guilty to drink driving in April 2018. So when their names were called out by Ant Middleton, there was visible shock on Ant’s face – and plenty of emotion as he heaped praise on his presenting partner.

This is a genuine shock, especially this year. I’m shaking.
Ant McPartlin

“I really don’t feel like I can accept this award this year,” he said, appearing via video link from the Britain’s Got Talent auditions. “The one reason we won the award this year is because of this guy,” he added, indicating Dec who replied: “I’ve got him back now. We’re back together.”

7. David Walliams celebrates in style

Named Best TV Judge – over his Britain’s Got Talent co-star Simon Cowell – David Walliams made no attempts to hide his elation. As Cowell dumped a bucket of confetti over his head and pressed every buzzer in sight, Walliams clambered onto the judges’ desk and let out a roar of delight. Glorious stuff.

8. David Dimbleby delivers an ode to the BBC – live on ITV

This year’s Special Recognition Award went to David Dimbleby, the veteran political broadcaster who stepped down as host of Question Time in December 2018. It was a more cerebral choice than previous winners, and Dimbleby took to the stage after a montage of clips to pay tribute to the BBC (despite appearing live on rival channel ITV). “I’ve been a fan of the BBC my entire life,” he told the audience, praising it as “one of the great national institutions”.

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He added: “I know a lot of the people we’re seeing tonight are from other channels but I think the continuation of the BBC is absolutely essential for our national life.”