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NTAs to mark 25th anniversary with star-studded documentary special

Dame Julie Walters (Matt Crossick/PA)
Dame Julie Walters (Matt Crossick/PA)

The National Television Awards will mark its 25th anniversary with a TV special narrated by Dame Julie Walters.

The hour-long documentary will feature interviews with winners, nominees and former hosts such as Graham Norton, Holly Willoughby, David Tennant, Simon Cowell, Paul O’Grady, Danny Dyer, and Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

The ITV special will chart the annual ceremony’s most memorable moments, such as Judy Finnigan’s live wardrobe malfunction with her bra in 2000.

Former hosts Sir Trevor McDonald and Dermot O’Leary will share their experiences of anchoring two-and-a-half hours of live TV, while veteran actress Dame Julie will narrate.

The show will air ahead of the 25th edition at the London O2 Arena on January 28 with new presenter David Walliams, who has taken over from previous host O’Leary.

Speaking in the special, O’Leary says that Walliams will take aim at Cowell, his fellow judge on Britain’s Got Talent, on the night.

He says: “I don’t need to give any advice to David, we both know Simon’s going to come out of this very badly.”

Simon Cowell signs ITV deal
Simon Cowell (Matt Crossick/PA)

Walliams has beaten Cowell three times to win the gong for best TV judge, saying one year: “I don’t look at this as a victory for me, I look at it as a humiliation for Simon Cowell.”

The documentary will also see McPartlin and Donnelly reflect on their 18 consecutive wins at the NTAs.

The duo again won the gong for best TV presenter, voted for by viewers, at last year’s event, despite McPartlin having been off-screen for much of the time due to addiction issues.

McPartlin says: “That first NTA felt like it changed our lives that night, we were playing with the big boys… and we’ve never been big boys, smaller than average boys.

National Television Awards 2018 – Press Room – London
Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly at the NTAs (Matt Crossick/PA)

“With everything that has happened in my personal life, I just wasn’t sure people would still vote.”

Donnelly adds: “It was a really lovely message from the audience just to back us and say we’re still with you.”

Norton quips that the pair’s continued success “takes the pressure off” the other nominees.

“To begin with you thought ‘ooh maybe this year’ but now it’s quite nice as it takes the pressure off,” he says.

“You know not to prepare a speech or even wear trousers as you won’t be standing up in public.”

The documentary will also feature interviews with Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Brendan O’Carroll, Phillip Schofield, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Michael Barrymore, Eamonn Holmes and Davina McCall.

McPartlin and Donnelly, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, O’Leary, Emma Willis, Willoughby and Fiona Bruce are among those nominated for major prizes this year.

The National Television Awards Celebrate 25 Years airs on Tuesday January 7 on ITV at 9pm.

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