BEST DRAMA SERIES, SERIOUSLY, AWARD
A Very English Scandal, or maybe Patrick Melrose, or maybe Mrs Wilson, or maybe Killing Eve, or maybe Vanity Fair with funny old Dobbin, who was stiffer than the socks that I’ve had to dry on the radiator since our washing machine broke down. (They are very stiff; you have to sort of creak them back into shape.) It would have to be A Very English Scandal, the brilliant dramatisation of the Jeremy Thorpe affair, which put Hugh Grant back on the map after everyone thought he’d fallen off it. For good.
Jodie Comer in Killing Eve. A contender for the best line in a drama award: ‘Keep nourished. Buy chops.’
BEST LINE IN A DRAMA AWARD: ‘Lord, how have I not noticed this before? Is he not the very spit of Uncle Ross?’ Poldark’s Geoffrey Charles talking about Valentine
Sheridan Smith on stage at the Royal Albert Hall. She gets an award for just being Sheridan Smith!
BEST LINE IN A DRAMA AWARD
‘Lord, how have I not noticed this before? Is he not the very spit of Uncle Ross?’ Poldark’s Geoffrey Charles talking about Valentine (son of Elizabeth and possibly Captain Ross – who can say?) and putting his big foot in it. Silly boy.
THE OTHER BEST LINE IN A DRAMA AWARD
‘Keep nourished. Buy chops.’ Eve’s handler in Killing Eve.
SHOW THAT SHOULD BE EUTHANISED AWARD
The Apprentice, you’re fired! Who hasn’t had enough? Enough of Lord Sugar – real name S’ralan – who, as a baby, sold his own dribble and later went door to door selling dust and table crumbs (or something). And enough of ‘Lord Sugar will see you now’, which is pretty rich as he’s always the last to enter through the frosted doors, and enough of the contestants, who will say ‘my first word wasn’t Mummy, it was money’, as if this were commendable. Who are these people who bear no relation to anyone you know or have ever known? Are they made in a special factory somewhere? Can we blow up that factory? Meanwhile, runners-up include The X Factor and Dragons’ Den. Frustrating for them as I think we all know that if it weren’t for The Apprentice, either could happily win.
AWARD FOR SHOW I SHOULD HAVE KEPT WATCHING BUT THEN DIDN’T
Hugo Blick’s Black Earth Rising. It was set against the Rwandan genocide and featured a stunningly fierce central performance from Michaela Coel, and you meant to keep up with it, and planned to keep up with it, and I’ll catch up tonight, or maybe tomorrow night, or at the weekend, because I can do this, I can, I have the brain power, I have the stamina, and then it was too late, gone. Blick has since said that as it was so difficult and complex, you really needed to watch it twice. Fair point. But also: in your dreams, pal.
SHOW YOU COULDN’T STOP WATCHING WHEN YOU COULD HAVE BEEN CATCHING UP ON BLACK EARTH RISING.
Bodyguard. Who could look away?
A Very English Scandal, the brilliant dramatisation of the Jeremy Thorpe affair, which put Hugh Grant back on the map after everyone thought he’d fallen off it. For good
Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby in Black Earth Rising. It was set against the Rwandan genocide and featured a stunningly fierce central performance from Coel
HIDDEN TOTAL GEM AWARD
The documentary Mim Shaikh: Finding Dad (BBC3, still on iPlayer) followed the DJ and actor as he searched for his birth father, whom he had never met. He persisted despite obstacle after obstacle, and although what he found wasn’t ideal – this was no Long Lost Family – he was finally able to put the quest to bed. Fascinating. And gripping. And moving. And go watch it. Now.
AWARD FOR THE MOST CRIMINALLY UNDERWRITTEN FEMALE CHARACTER
Has to be Rebecca from McMafia. The girlfriend of the central character, Alex Godman, was so criminally underwritten and such a drip she was rarely called on to do anything other than look at Alex worriedly. And then they made her swim laps in a revealing swimsuit because lap swimming in a revealing swimsuit is… essential to the plot?
AWARD FOR SERIES EVEN SARAH LANCASHIRE COULDN’T SAVE
Kiri. And it wasn’t even murder in the end. Just a tragic accident, which made all the covering up preposterous. That’s several hours I’ll never get back, and I resent it, even though I’m not at all busy.
THE MOST FAST-FORWARDABLE AWARD
MasterChef is a strong contender, as who in their right mind wouldn’t fast-forward the part where they work in a restaurant? Yawn, yawn. Also, The Great British Bake Off. See what they are planning to bake, see what they do bake, fast-forward everything in between. (Rahul was always galloping along at x30 in our house. He’d have been terrified had he known.) Then there is Location, Location, Location and Grand Designs – are Jane and Rob over-reaching themselves with that glass sliding roof? Nah, it’ll be fine, trust me. And also Strictly Come Dancing, because who in their right mind wouldn’t fast-forward the VTs? But the ultimate winner is… us, because we’ve succeeded in watching 18 hours of television in ten minutes flat. Result.
AWARD FOR HOLDING OFF ON THAT KISS EVEN THOUGH WE WERE SO DESPERATE FOR IT TO HAPPEN
The winner is Mum, the older-age romantic comedy starring Lesley Manville and Peter Mullan. Two series in and Cathy and Michael have only just got around to (tentatively) holding hands, but it’s somehow incredibly sexy. It’s the slow burn of it, plus it’s just so beautifully written and played. A third series is in the works and one hopes it will then run to a fourth, a tenth, a 47th and a 98th. Ideally, it would just run wall-to-wall until the sun burns away and we’re all wiped out, and in that instance whose last words wouldn’t be, ‘But wait, but wait, we need to see if Cathy and Michael finally… kiss!’
Ludovica Nasti as Rafaella and Elisa Del Genio as Elena in My Brilliant Friend
SPECIAL AWARD FOR BEING BOTH ENTERTAINING DULL, WHICH HAS TO COUNT FOR SOMETHING
Press, which was entertaining when Ben Chaplin (as the editor of tabloid newspaper The Post) was in the frame but died a death when the action switched to the broadsheet Herald. Will the Herald succumb to wraparound advertising? Will it, will it, will it? And has anyone told James yet that child labour in the garment industry is not a front-page news story? There have been whole books on it, James!
AWARD FOR NOT HOLDING OFF ON ANYTHING, MORE’S THE PITY
Relationship drama Wanderlust. It gave me the creeps.
THE SHERIDAN SMITH AWARD FOR JUST BEING SHERIDAN SMITH, AS THAT IS ENTIRELY SUFFICIENT
Sheridan Smith wins despite the stiff competition. Well done, Sheridan!
SERIES BETTER THAN THE BOOK AWARD
My Brilliant Friend, based on the Elena Ferrante novels, and while the novels didn’t half go on, this adaptation was so exquisite, so intimate yet savage, it just became a different beast.
AWARD FOR JUST BEING AMAZING
Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old. If you watched only one thing last year, it should have been that.
What Deborah Ross REALLY predicts for the NTAs
Best New Drama
Shortlist: A Discovery Of Witches, Bodyguard, Girlfriends, Killing Eve, The Cry.
What should win: Hang on, no A Very English Scandal? What are these awards and how do we boycott them?
What will win: Bodyguard, which so masterfully put its hooks into you.
Holly Willoughby has been shortlisted for the Best TV Presenter for the National Television Awards
Best Talent Show
Shortlist: Britain’s Got Talent, Dancing On Ice, Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice UK, The X Factor.
What should win: Strictly, which still delivers great entertainment, particularly when fast-forwarded at x30.
What will win: Strictly – after all, the other contenders were just so tiresome.
Best TV Presenter
Shortlist: Ant & Dec, Bradley Walsh, Graham Norton, Holly Willoughby (above), Phillip Schofield.
Who should win: Graham Norton, who makes each show feel like a joyous A-list party that we’ve managed to gatecrash.
Who will win: Ant & Dec are usually a shoo-in but the brand has, perhaps, been diminished by the fact that it’s sometimes been No Ant & Dec, Dec & Just Dec, Holly & Dec. Holly? For services to Holly & Dec?
The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award
Shortlist: All Round To Mrs Brown’s, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Love Island, The Graham Norton Show.
What should win: The Graham Norton Show, please!
What will win: Love Island may take it from I’m A Celebrity as it was a sensation, alas. (I watched one episode, which I found quite uninteresting, but I kept that quiet as I didn’t want to sound like everybody’s disapproving mother.)
Best Drama Performance
Shortlist: Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders, Jodie Comer in Killing Eve, Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who, Michelle Keegan in Our Girl, Richard Madden in Bodyguard
Who should win: Jodie Comer was snubbed by the Golden Globes so this is her moment, surely.
Who will win: Richard Madden.