Ant and Dec win ‘means duo are cherished as much as history's biggest stars'

Holly Willoughby was also in the running for best TV presenter.

Ant and Dec’s win at the National Television Awards shows the duo are “cherished” as much as some of the biggest stars in TV history, an industry expert has said.

The duo won their 18th consecutive gong at the ceremony, for best TV presenter, voted for by viewers, despite Ant McPartlin having been off-screen for much of the time.

Publicist and strategist Mark Borkowski told the Press Association: “People are saying they love Ant, that he’s been through a terrible time, and whether you are famous or you are not, you have these issues in your life.

“The public understand there are problems in life.

“The award says something about what the public want, they cherish Ant and Dec in the same way as they cherished Morecambe and Wise in the past, or in the 50s, the Goons.

“There are certain acts that might be flawed but the public love them.

“Ant said the right thing (in the pair’s acceptance speech) about Dec keeping the seat warm. He’s done the right things.

Holly Willoughby was a contender for the award
Holly Willoughby was a contender for the award (Ian West/PA)

“The public are saying, ‘We are giving you a big vote of confidence, we love you, we want you to be back on our TV screens, we understand what you have been through’, and so they should take that and move onwards.”

He said the pair would be “damned if they won” and “damned if they didn’t win” by some commentators and added: “Who is snapping at their heels as a double act? Jedward?”

Mr Borkowski said the awards were all about Ant and Dec, even if they were not there on the night.

“It gave it a certain poignancy, because of the jeopardy – would they or wouldn’t they (scoop the best presenter prize)? Of course, it was all about them.”

But he warned, about award winners generally, that while scooping a gong like a National Television Award is “food for the ego”, stars “should never forget that fame is a thirsty, hungry beast and there are a lot of people who want to take it away from you”.

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