Dermot O’Leary will be hosting the National Television Awards for the fifth time as the stars come out for British TV’s big night this week.
We caught up with him to talk about his favourite shows of the last 12 months and what happens at the legendary afterparty…
It’s been another fantastic year for British TV hasn’t it?
“Every category is crammed with top quality and there’ve been some unbelievable dramas – which is what I watch a lot of at home.”
Which drama have you enjoyed most this year?
“I love a sleeper hit and this year Broadchurch was so successful. It wasn’t a cheap show by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact that they wrote eight episodes and didn’t expect a second series or anything like that was brilliant. It’s rare that something comes around which piques the public’s imagination like that.”
There was a point when everybody was talking about it…
“That’s why I love doing X Factor, because it’s great when TV becomes a communal experience. The whole rating thing makes me laugh because it’s predicated on one person watching TV on their own, which probably isn’t the norm!”
What have been your other highlights this year?
“I love the period stuff – Ripper Street and Peaky Blinders were great, proper statement shows. Endeavour was terrific, I really enjoyed that – the chap who played Morse was brilliant! Outside that, Gogglebox was simple yet hilarious. A couple of one-offs; The Murder Trial and The Plane Crash were also great on C4.”
What did you make of C4 documentary series Educating Yorkshire?
“That was brilliant television. We’re actually hoping to get some of the guys from the school to appear on the night – so we’ll see if that works out. I petition quite hard for who we should give the landmark awards to – not that they ever listen to me! But I’d love them to get a nod…”
You danced with Darcy Bussell in 2013, can we expect something similar this year?
“Haha.. It was amazing to dance with Darcy, but then afterwards of course I fell over – which was really annoying! They gave me these suede-bottomed ballet shoes and it was like dancing on banana skins! At least it wasn’t on live TV! Oh wait…”
The battle for Britain’s favourite soap will be intense again, who’s your money on?
“I dip in and out because I don’t have enough time to watch the soaps religiously, which is a shame. The flip-side of that is that you watch a couple of episodes and you’re back in! I’ve been loving Danny Dyer in EastEnders recently, I’ve met him a couple of times and he’s such a nice guy. Corrie is terrific as well – one of the most underrated sitcoms we have I think! But I would also like to see Emmerdale get some plaudits because they’ve had a brilliant year and they always seems to miss out.”
Will you be having a few drinks at the after-party?
“I’m not a big drinker, but the NTAs after-party is almost like the fall of Saigon! I’ve been working for hours solid and when I arrive, it’s simply a room full of people who have been drinking all night and they’re still at it, so they’re getting quite drunk. It’s carnage. Another thing is that because it’s towards the end of January, a lot of people have had a dry month and they’re letting themselves go a bit – so quite often it’s a big night for people! I stay for a bit and then go and find a quiet corner and get away from it all…”
The National Television Awards will screen live on ITV on Wednesday, January 22. For details on how to vote go to http://www.nationaltvawards.com/