After a long week at work, I’ve had the most glorious afternoon catching up with the National Television Awards (NTAs), which took place last night. I was out last night, otherwise I would have watched it live, so instead I decided to treat myself to pizza for lunch and curl up under a blanket, watching with rapture. And it was wonderful.
I mainly decided to watch it because I knew Channel 4 drama It’s A Sin was nominated in the New Drama category, and I absolutely loved that show. I watched it in two or three sittings on demand before it was all broadcast, and then I watched almost every episode as they were shown on Channel 4 as well. And I cried almost all the way through. Then I saw the clips of a couple of episodes on Gogglebox and cried watching them for the third time. And I don’t know if it’s because of the menopause or because I’m an emotional person anyway, but the entire NTAs had a similar effect.
I do like a good award show, when I am familiar with most of the nominees and invested in a couple of them. So many of my favourites won – Mollie Gallagher in Coronation Street for starters, whose hate crime storyline was so good and felt quite close to home for this former goth/greb/emo kid. And little Jude Riordan for best newcomer, again for Corrie – he’s so adorable and a great actor. And Coronation Street itself won best serial. I say I don’t watch a lot of TV – I’m not really up to date with whatever new thing is popular most of the time, and I often don’t follow up on recommendations people give me. But I watch Corrie every episode without fail. It’s like coming home and escaping elsewhere all at once. It’s a comfort blanket.
I was pleased to see It’s A Sin win New Drama, and was hopeful when Olly Alexander was nominated for his performance – but also pleased when David Tennant won for his performance in Des. He’s one of my faves. Beat The Chasers won best quiz gameshow, The Great British Bake Off picked up best challenge show, Gogglebox best factual, and Ant and Dec won The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! as well as their 20th award for best TV presenter. All fairly unsurprising, really, but all my favourites so I was very pleased. Seeing Kate Garraway win best authored documentary for Finding Derek was emotional for obvious reasons even though I haven’t watched it, and I think the topic of that documentary is part of the reason why it all felt so emotional. Because it wasn’t just any award show – it was an award show in the context of over a year of events and shows not happening in person. It was a celebration of the programmes that distracted us when our worlds as we knew them were falling apart. And I suppose there are people who think staring at a box in the corner is mind-numbing, time wasting, pointless, and we should all be reading or climbing trees or something. But when an art form – and TV is an art form – makes us feel this much, and entertains us, distracts us, introduces us to new experiences, and informs us – that’s not an easy thing for any creative to do, and it’s worth something. In fact, it’s worth a hell of a lot.
This time of year makes me excited for television. Bake Off is coming back, I’m A Celeb will be on in a couple of months, and with it, the promise of Christmas. Winter is coming, and along with it, dark and cosy nights, great television, and comfort. It’s partly this feeling that made me so emotional watching the awards today. That, and I just love seeing people do things they are passionate about and be rewarded for it. And did I mention it’s been a really long week? But this was the perfect way to close it.