Thursday, 26 January 2012

National Television Awards 2012: the winners, the losers, my random thoughts

Thursday, 26 January 2012

I'm not the biggest fan of ITV1's The National Television Awards. They always seem to attract more celebrities than the more prestigious BAFTAs over on BBC1, and are generally treated as a bigger event, which I just don't get. Perhaps people associate BAFTA too much with movies

They're also tarnished by their association with family-friendly ITV, with the whole event resembling a big X Factor finale. It doesn't help that Cowell's ringmaster Dermot O'Leary also hosts this event, but I'm just glad the producers saw sense and axed Sir Trevor McDonald many years ago. A fine newsreader he may be, but he's the Fred West of comedy.

But perhaps my biggest gripe is how it's all voted for by the public. On the one hand, this means the nominees/winners are people/shows most people have heard of and likely seen, so that's great. On the other hand, it becomes a dull popularity contest, with most of the winners being shows/celebs with the biggest fanbases or better ratings. In other words, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and X Factor are a shoe-in for everything they're ever nominated for.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on last night's winners and losers.

I like the idea of having a separate category for talk shows, and was expecting Graham Norton to take this from Jonathan Ross simply because his three-guest format's so brilliant. Oddly, Alan Carr seems to be the most popular with audiences and walked away with the trophy. I enjoyed his latest series more than usual, I don't mind admitting, but still can't help thinking Norton was robbed because his show's often more memorable. Small mercy: Loose Women lost.

One of the night's biggest awards. People always expect Doctor Who to win this one, but Downton Abbey was victorious instead, despite having a second series most people consider inferior to the first. It would have been nice for Merlin to get the prize, seeing as it regularly achieves 6-7m viewers against X Factor every week, but that wasn't to be. Small mercy: school drama Waterloo Road lost.

Another big award for the night, considering how popular Reality TV is on British TV. I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! took home the award, and it's hard to argue when its competition was The Only Way Is Essex, Come Dine With Me and The Apprentice. It's not the best show of that bunch, but it had the better run in 2011. Blame the jungle cockroach that went up Fatima Whitbread's nose!

You always expect X Factor to win this award, and it didn't disappoint us this year. It's strange, though, because Strictly Come Dancing was markedly the better show last year and famously managed to beat its ITV rival in the ratings for the first time. Small mercies: the time-wasting Dancing On Ice and Britain's Got Talent (with its flop new judging panel and weak finalists) didn't win anything.

Or "The Ant & Dec Award" because they've now won it 11 times in a row! But would you really give it to Michael McIntyre, Dermot O'Leary or Keith bloody Lemon instead? We need some new presenters on the box. Or a decision to split Ant and Dec into separate nominees, to cause rivalry between the pair!

Great to see Watch's Dynamo: Magician Impossible nominated because it was a weekly hour or genuinely memorable street magic, but BBC1's Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow probably won because more people saw it. At least it wasn't as obvious as Harry Hill's TV Burp winning. Small mercy: grubby "dating" gameshow Take Me Out lost.

Why wasn't Would I Lie To You? nominated? Oh well, the execrable and witless Celebrity Juice won, probably because braindead ITV audiences are the demographic that can't resist a phone vote. The vastly superior QI, Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You all went home empty-handed.

I've never actually seen it, but half-improvised family comedy Outnumbered won, perhaps as a last hurrah because its child actors are losing their cuteness to acne and greasy hair. Still, this award could have been as predictable as handing Miranda another win. Small mercy: comedy throwback Benidorm lost.

In some ways THE best category for a show like this, because soaps thrive on popularity. Coronation Street won over EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. I haven't seen much of any for about 8 years.

A terrible bunch of nominees! Martin Clunes for Doc Marten? David Threlfall from Shameless? Scraping the barrel! John Barrowman for the inept Torchwood: Miracle Day? Just awful. Matt Smith deservedly won for Doctor Who, then. Frustrating that Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't be nominated because Sherlock didn't air in 2011, but there's always 2013.

Doctor Who sweeps the drama acting board with a female win for Karen Gillan, pushing Waterloo Road's Jaye Jacobs, Scott & Bailey's Suranne Jones, and Torchwood's Eve Myles into loserville.

Why do soap stars get their own acting award? Isn't that admitting they're second-tier in someone's eyes? Coronation Street's Katherine Kelly won, beating castmate Alison King, Emmerdale's Danny Miller and EastEnders' Jessie Wallace.

Someone called Jacqueline Jossa from EastEnders won, making Corrie's Chris Fountain and Emmerdale's Chelsea Halfpenny cry in their taxi home. The only newcomers in 2011 were from soaps?

One of the least predictable categories, and This Morning won. I don't watch it, because I have a job. It was one of the biggest surprises, though, considering the extremely popular Top Gear and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding were both on this shortlist. Small mercy: the vastly overrated An Idiot Abroad lost, meaning Ricky Gervais' mantelpiece has been saved from collapse.

As for the ceremony itself? I wisely recorded it for about an hour, so I could later fast-forward through the dreary parts and adverts, meaning the whole affair only lasted about 40-minutes for me. A smattering of random thoughts to finish up: Who opens a big event like this with Bruce Forsythe crooning a song from his swing album? Don't the Downton Abbey cast look totally bizarre in modern clothes? How awesome are Karen Gillan's legs? Kermit the Frog is never funny in the real world, is he? It was great to see Jonathan Ross win a Lifetime Achievement award, and even better seeing archive footage of his '80s breakthrough on Channel 4. The Merlin cast looked like a good bunch, all sat together like best pals. Did Tulisa kill a pink flamingo to use as a dress? Why was everything so skewed towards ITV, regarding awards presenters? (Rhetorical question.)

That's it from me! If you have any thoughts/opinions to share on the NTAs, please do so below.