Ant McPartlin thanks Wales as IAC scoops first award at NTAs

The ceremony is taking place at London's O2 Arena.

Ant McPartlin thanked Wales for hosting I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! during the pandemic after the ITV show won the first prize of the night at the National Television Awards (NTAs).

The reality show is returning to Gwrych Castle for a second successive year after the pandemic forced producers to abandon plans to use the usual Australian base.

Taking to the stage at London’s O2 Arena with the cast of the 2020 series, including winner Giovanna Fletcher, McPartlin said: “Thank you. It was a real change to do it in Wales last year but it was absolutely brilliant.

“We loved it, we loved doing it there and we can’t wait to do it again this year.”

Host Joel Dommett started the show with a pre-recorded skit in which he searched at short notice for a nominee to open the event with a “big musical number”, eventually settling on Hrvy, who performed Runaway With It with his former partner on Strictly Come Dancing Janette Manrara.

“We are live here in a real room with real people,” he told the cheering audience.

Newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald also took to the stage to introduce a film showing how TV helped the public during the pandemic.

And Line Of Duty won the award for returning drama, beating programmes including The Crown and Call The Midwife.

Piers Morgan is hoping to end Ant and Dec’s domination at the event when they go head-to-head for the best TV presenter prize later in the night.

Geordie duo Ant and Dec have won best TV presenter for a staggering 19 years in a row but Morgan has set his sights on dethroning them.

Morgan, who was nominated following a turbulent first half of 2021 which saw him depart Good Morning Britain over incendiary comments about the Duchess of Sussex, is also up against Bradley Walsh and This Morning stars Holly Willoughby and Alison Hammond.

National Television Awards 2021 – London
JLS stars Marvin Hume, JB Gill, Oritse Williams and Aston Merrygold (Ian West/PA)

On the red carpet, JLS promised their performance at the awards will feature surprises and be a “celebration” of their reunion.

They are due to perform comeback single Eternal Love, after splitting in 2013 after four albums together and multiple tours.

Oritse Williams told the PA news agency: “This is our first time as a group at the NTAs so this is a JLS debut and also we are here performing our brand new single Eternal Love written by the legend himself Ed Sheeran, produced by the legend himself Steve Mac.

“And we have got a few surprises in store tonight. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be a JLS night.”

Love Island winners Millie Court and Liam Reardon also walked the carpet.

Court, a former fashion buyer administrator, told PA: “It’s very surreal. It’s a pinch me moment.”

She said they would be moving in together “hopefully soon”, and added: “Obviously, we are going back to Wales (where Reardon’s family live) and then when we come back we will be looking for places.”

The NTAs continue on ITV.

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