Dermot O'Leary NTA

The votes are in, the viewers have spoken and Britain’s best-loved programmes and performers are lined up on the shortlist for the 21st National Television Awards.

The fate of TV’s biggest names is in the hands of the public as the final round of voting opens today. Yes, the nation must now decide which stars and shows get to win one of the coveted trophies at the spectacular celebration broadcast on ITV on 20th January from The O2 London and hosted by Dermot O’Leary.

The TV talking points of the year compete in the New Drama category, from shirtless scything in Poldark to the domestic nightmare of Doctor Foster, by way of workplace secrets being exposed in Ordinary Lies and the debate over artificial intelligence explored in Humans. But which of these hot new shows will take home the big prize?

Ant and Dec - SNT

A new twist for this year’s runners and riders is that factual programmes have been pitted against entertainment shows in a new all-embracing category TV Presenter. Ant and Dec have virtually made the Entertainment Presenter category their own territory for the past 14 years but with the increasing popularity of factual shows, other contenders like Mel and Sue from Bake-Off could be putting celebration candles on their cake. But they also have to beat the ever-popular Graham Norton and the ubiquitous Rylan gets his first NTA nomination ever in this category.

New category Live Magazine Show features four shows that make headlines day in and day out: BBC Breakfast, which is about to say goodbye to long-standing host Bill Turnbull, Loose Women, The One Show and This Morning.

BBC Breakfast

The Challenge Show category finds celebrities taken out of their comfort zone in Bear Grylls: Mission Survive, Claude Littner joining Lord Sugar on The Apprentice, Simon Wood taking home the Masterchef trophy and The Great British Bake Off’s Nadiya making even judge Mary Berry cry when she was crowned 2015’s winner.

Serial Drama is as hotly contested as ever – EastEnders went live to reveal that Bobby bumped off Lucy, Coronation Street’s Kylie bludgeoned Callum in another live special, a helicopter crash caused mayhem in Emmerdale and Hollyoaks marked its 20th birthday by unmasking the Gloved Hand Killer.

Drama sees Saturday-night staple Casualty make the shortlist as it enters its 30th anniversary year, while Broadchurch gets a nod for its second series. And as the nation said goodbye to Downton Abbey, we get the Dowager taking on Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who.

Peter Capaldi as The Doctor in Doctor Who

Factual Entertainment sees one show with an official royal seal of approval – DIY SOS: the Big Build, in which Princes William and Harry memorably helped renovate homes for war veterans. It’s up against the ever-popular Gogglebox, the heartwarming Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs and Top Gear, the latter of which has certainly had an eventful 12 months.

Four actors at the top of their game are up for Drama Performance: David Tennant was back on the case in Broadchurch, Sheridan Smith uncovered dark police secrets in Black Work, Suranne Jones sought revenge on her unfaithful husband in Doctor Foster and Aidan Turner spiced up Sunday nights as the brooding Poldark.

Ant and Dec are once again up against…Ant and Dec! Yes, in the Entertainment Programme category, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway will be competing against I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! But they’ll face stiff competition from Friday-night favourite The Graham Norton Show and the gloriously filthy Celebrity Juice.

Shayne Ward

Making your mark in soapland can be tough, but there are four big success stories up for Newcomer. Gemma Atkinson has caused chaos in Emmerdale as scheming Carly and Parry Glasspool’s Harry on Hollyoaks has been getting Ste hot under the collar. And switching careers from music to acting has definitely paid dividends for Richard Blackwood (EastEnders) and Shayne Ward (Coronation Street).

The contenders for Serial Drama Performance have really been put through the emotional wringer: on EastEnders, we had Rakhee Thakrar’s moving portrayal of Shabnam’s stillbirth while Danny Dyer unleashed Mick’s anger towards rapist Dean. Corrie’s Alison King was at the centre of the drama as Carla contemplated suicide and Michael Parr raised hell on Emmerdale as bad boy Ross Barton.

The International award recognises three Stateside big hitters: the phenomenon that is Game of Thrones, brainiac favourite The Big Bang Theory and – demonstrating the influence of streaming platforms such as Netflix – prison drama Orange is the New Black.

It’s the UK’s favourite awards ceremony, celebrating the UK’s favourite TV. Forget critics and shadowy panels of “experts”: these are the awards that listen to the viewing public. All new votes will be added to those already submitted in the first round and the results will be revealed at the ceremony on ITV from The O2 London on the 20th January 2016. – ITV

You can vote free online at OR you can vote by phone 0905 647 2016. Calls cost 25p per minute, plus your network access charge, and should last no longer than seven minutes.


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