NTAs host Dermot O’Leary: ‘I always love the upsets!’

Dermot O’Leary gave us an exclusive chat about his TV viewing habits and tips for the National Television Awards...

With competition at the National Television Awards set to be fiercer than ever you can find out the winners live on ITV on January 23 at 7.30pm. What’s On TV caught up with NTAs host Dermot O’Leary to find out what he’s been watching, his tips for success and how he feels about the inaugural Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award in honour of the late legendary star…

WOTV: What were your standout TV moments this year?

Dermot O’Leary: “Me and my wife Dee are big drama fans and perennial fans of Game of Thrones – we always look forward to that! But the show that kind of caught me unawares this year was Liar. I think it was brilliant, it was just one of those word of mouth successes.”

WOTV: What did you love about Liar?

“There are so many good dramas around that it’s quite hard for a drama to capture the whole of the public’s imagination but I really think Liar did that. Plus Joanne Froggatt’s a terrific actress and it was great to see Ioan Gruffudd in a different role.”


WOTV: Are you a binge watcher?

“No, I have to stick to one or two episodes a night. I can’t binge watch – I have to limit myself!”

WOTV: The Entertainment Award is in honour of the late great Sir Bruce Forsyth. What are your memories of him?

“Bruce was a genuinely lovely man so I’m really glad we’re naming an award after him. He won the Special Recognition Award in 2011 and he helped us out with the show a few times. I had the good fortune to sit next to him at a couple of lunches and he was just a very funny, smart, worldly wise guy who loved entertainment and loved television. There was a real lovely commonality to him and that’s a gift of any good broadcaster. He was very warm.”

WOTV: There’s a new Crime Drama category this year with Broadchurch up against Line of Duty, Little Boy Blue and Sherlock. What’s your tip?

“I watched all of them but it would be nice for Broadchurch to win because it’s not around anymore and it was a proper zeitgeist show. It was the first drama that captivated the nation like that for a very long time. But then there’s Sherlock and you could watch Benedict Cumberbatch wash his hands he’s such a good actor!”

WOTV: Do you tend to root for the underdog?

Yes, I always love the upsets, like last year Casualty won the Drama award and their faces were a picture! They perennially get nominated and they never really win so it was great. It just goes to show how competitive the NTAs are!

WOTV: Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby are up for the Best Presenter Award – do you think either of them could break Ant & Dec’s 16-year run?

“Oh who knows! I don’t get it though because it should be Phil and Holly up for it as a pair. It would be easier for them to win if they were, but hey ho… I don’t think either of them will win but I’m really glad for Holly. I mean Phil’s brilliant and a legend and I don’t use that word lightly, but I don’t think Holly gets the credit she deserves. She’s a really strong broadcaster.”

WOTV: They’re known for their wild antics at the after party, so will you be hanging out with them this year?

“It’s weird because when I finish hosting I’m still stone cold sober and all my friends have got about six hours on me, so I’m always playing catch up. It gets to about 3am and I’m like, ‘alright let’s get this party started!’ And everyone else is going home. But if I’m going to hang with anyone it will be Holly and Phil because they don’t seem to stop!”


Voting is until noon on January 23 and is free online at www.nationaltvawards.com (where you can purchase tickets for the event itself) OR vote by phone 0905 647 2018.


Interview by Hannah Davies