A “WHO’S who of television” crammed into the O2 Arena on Wednesday night.
Graham Norton, Paul O’Grady, Ricky Gervais, Sex And The City’s Mr Big, Keith Lemon, Frank Lampard, a zombiefied Hayley Cropper, an animatronic penguin, Kevin from Grimsby...
They were all there for “TV’s biggest night of the year”, the National Television Awards, where Dermot O’Leary opened by announcing: “We’re going to start the way we mean to go on.”
With very little making sense – The Jeremy Kyle Show receiving a nomination, Keith Lemon two, EastEnders having the gall to show up as if they might win anything, BBC1’s four Musketeers poncing around like an Il Divo tribute act. And O’Leary, not for the first time hosting the NTAs, enduring a kamikaze night where the perils of live TV tripped him at every corner and made it the most entertaining ceremony in years.
“Please give a right old east neester knees-up for Danny Dyer.”
“There will be cattle bettle battle commencing shortly.”
And, picking a random from the audience with the intention of asking what TV she liked: “What do what colour sheet team tears the shoes do you like, Emma?”
She didn’t say. But his gobbledygook was contagious and spread to Hugh Bonneville whose Best Documentary nominees included: “Penguins: Spy in the M’huggle.”
Which I believe is the working title for the eighth Harry Potter book.
All forgivable tongue-tied moments.
What can’t be as easily brushed off, however, are the inappropriately snidey remarks O’Leary fired at the winners as they left the stage, like this to Best Newcomer Khali Best’s back: “Good speech, considering he ‘didn’t expect it’.”
It was as unpleasant and unnecessary as the wall-to-wall plugs for Simon Cowell that peppered the ceremony – Sam Bailey singing (twice) and the X Factor musical number which was the worst idea since someone suggested Kimberley Walsh for last year’s awards.
As for the gongs, well, you can take them only so seriously.
They’re nothing more than a popularity contest, which explains Benedict Cumberbatch winning Best TV Detective for a show that wasn’t on air during the entire qualifying period.
Doctor Who is apparently a better drama than Broadchurch, Pointless was robbed and I’m A Celebrity should have missed out BBC’s chat programme The Graham Norton Show.
But Corrie and Strictly deserved their triumphs, feeding EastEnders and TheX Factor their just desserts, and justice was done when Mrs Brown’s Boys stuffed Derek.
And if Gervais is wondering why, Brendan O’Carroll had the answer: “We just wanted to make a comedy that would make people laugh.”
Gervais should try it some time.
The only constant is Ant & Dec picking up the Ant & Dec award, but they were also surprised with the big one, the Landmark honour, and a letter from Prince Charles, read out by Phillip Schofield.
“I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting the recipient on many occasions over the last 15 years as an avid and generous supporter of the Prince’s Trust, taking time out of an extremely busy schedule to support and inspire those young people who come to us in disadvantaged and difficult...”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Where’s Spike Milligan when you really need him?
This week’s Spudulikes go to...
Hayley’s perfectly judged final Corrie scenes.
C4’s Dispatches: Children on the Frontline.
Matt Berry on House of Fools, which swings between genius and excruciating.
Sky Sports’ dramatic Capital One Cup penalty shootout between Man United and Sunderland with seven out of 10 spot-kicks missed.
Grump in an anorak Jim Davidson ruling the roost and Liz Jones scuppering Luisa’s secret mission on another brilliant week of Celebrity Big Brother.
Winterwatch’s Chris Packham getting away with saying: “We can offer you black cock live, first thing in the morning. And nothing beats that,” during a feature on grouse.
And Loose Women’s Ruth Langsford asking viewers: “What message do you think a beard sends out?”
That Nadia Sawalha’s back on the panel?
This week’s Spuduhates go to...
Celebrity Big Brother’s hideous nightmare on legs Luisa Zissman.
Dancing On Ice’s one remaining joke Todd Carty disappearing but, sadly, not down the tunnel at 30 knots.
BBC1’s laughably awful The Musketeers.
Gabby Logan, crusader for parity of the sexes, failing to see the hypocrisy of flagrantly ogling Dan Osborne from Towie in tight leopard-skin trunks on Splash!
Vernon Kay describing absolutely every Splash! diver as “brave”.
Three-quarters of The Voice panel hearing something I’m really not in dreadful singers, the exception being Will.i.am who told one: “There was a constant flatness.” There was. The middle hour of last Saturday’s 80-minute letdown.