The annual National #Television Awards at the O2 Arena in London on Wednesday had additional poignancy this year, as they allowed the world of television to pay a fitting tribute to the late Anne Kirkbride who died earlier this week. Among the glitz and glamour of the evening there was a note of solemnity as the stars added their own touches of respect for the veteran Coronation Street star who played Deirdre Barlow, with EastEnders' Adam Woodyatt adding his own 'personal touch' to the tributes, as his soap beat Corrie to the best Serial Drama gong.
Many of the Corrie cast attended despite being clearly emotionally upset by Kirkbride's death, with Kirkbride's long standing screen husband Bill Roache leading a special tribute at the event. As Woodyatt accepted the award on behalf of the 'rival' EastEnders' cast he put the record straight by stating: "I'd also like to say a big thank you to Coronation Street, because without you there'd be no EastEnders", in a clear reference to the fact that Corrie pre-dates the Walford soap. He added (in memory of one of Deirdre's best storylines) that they were accepting the award on behalf of the "Weatherfield One".
Besides the tributes, the awards themselves were also handed out to reward television excellence during the past year. The cast of EastEnders especially enjoyed their night, as besides the major award for the show itself, Danny Dyer took away the Serial Drama Performance award and co-star Maddy Hill was named as the best in the Newcomer category.
The best Drama Performance was given to Sheridan Smith for her part as Cilla Black in the short series "Cilla", although she endured a drama of her own when travelling to the event, as she arrived late after being stuck in heavy traffic.
There were no surprises when the Best Entertainment Presenter award went for the 14th time to the Geordie pair Ant and Dec, nor one suspects when their entertainment vehicle I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here took the Top Entertainment Programme trophy.
As the awards came thick and fast, Great British Bake Off was voted Top Skills Challenge Show, Best Chat Show Host went to Alan Carr, Best Comedy was won by Mrs Brown's Boys, while Gogglebox took Top Factual Programme. Other awards were received by This Morning for the Daytime award, Downton Abbey for Best Drama, Celebrity Juice for top Multichannel, David Walliams for top TV Judge and The X Factor for topTalent Show. There was also just enough time for a Special Recognition award for the former Doctor Who David Tennant.
There may have also been the next generation of television stars in 'attendance' at the star-studded event, as three current well-known women from the screen, EastEnders' Jacqueline Jossa, Broadchurch's Jodie Whittaker and Countryfile's Julia Bradbury joyfully showed off their baby bumps. Perhaps that was the most fitting moment of all at the event, as it demonstrated that as one star sadly departs from this world, there may be others to fill the void that has been left behind. #Celebrities