a roller coaster night – and a clue to the fate of Line of Duty?

This year’s NTAs were doubled with a victory lap for Line of Duty. And there were even broad winks that Ted Hastings might not have stalked his last twisted copper. Jed Mercurio’s juggernaut won the Best Returning Drama Award and a “Special Recognition” award. To celebrate, there was a live video link with Hastings himself, Adrian Dunbar. “Who knows,” he said. “We could be back.” Martin Compston added: “Jed Mercurio does everything for a reason. You all want us to come back, don’t you? That the record shows that the witnesses dropped specific allusions to a seventh season.

In 2021, no awards ceremony would be complete without some high-level efforts. And when Gogglebox won the Best Factual category, Julie Malone, one of the reality show’s recurring TV addicts, dedicated the honor to the four Gogglebox regulars who have died since the last NTAs.

“I would like to dedicate this award to all the people we have sadly lost over the past 18 months,” she said. “Andy, Pete, Mary and everyone’s favorite grandmother June, who has now reunited with Leon.”

There were more tears when Kate Garraway was awarded the Author Documentary category for Finding Derek, her film about her husband Derek Draper’s long battle with Covid. “Whatever you are going through, you are not forgotten,” she said. “We want to find joy again. We want this to be over, but if you’re still living with the scars, the fight continues. “

Surprises were at a minimum. Ant and Dec became emotional as they accepted the TV Presenter Trophy for the 20th year in a row. Ricky Gervais won Best Comedy for After Life season two on Netflix (the only streaming victory of the evening). And Russell T Davies’ epic column on the AIDS crisis, It’s a Sin, won Best New Drama. However, its star, Olly Alexander, lost the best dramatic performance to David Tennant and the latter’s portrayal of serial killer Dennis Nilsen in Des.

The final prize went to Coronation Street for Serial Drama. By then, even the most enthusiastic viewer’s attention may have started to wane. But with tears, cheers, mutts and falls, the NTAs had delivered a roller coaster night – capped by Dommett’s determination to leave a lasting impression.

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