There were probably many other places Holly Willoughby would rather have been last night than walking down a red carpet with millions watching — even if she was dressed in British designer Suzanne Neville’s most stunning lilac dress.
The evening was not exactly good timing.
After being ridiculed for two days for performing alongside her new best friend Alison Hammond on her This Morning comeback, after taking eight weeks off for her annual summer break while losing 200,000 viewers at the same time, she knew she was in for it. there was no way to get away with it. because he didn’t show up to the National Television Awards last night.
Her torment was compounded by the fact that she was not shortlisted for Best Presenter.
Frankly, she knew. It was the first time she had been present without Phillip Schofield as presenter of the ITV show she joined in 2009 since they began working together fourteen years ago.
Alone: Holly Willoughby attends the 2023 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena
Still smiling: There were probably a lot of other places Holly Willoughby would rather have been last night than walking down a red carpet with millions watching
Point of Interest: Alison Hammond
Ms Willoughby, 42, was also there to support Ms Hammond, described in television circles as her ‘bestie’, as she took on Ant and Dec for the title of best presenter – with the Geordie duo taking home the award for the 15th years in a row.
It was indeed a quandary for the woman who had been one of the most popular on television until this time last year – when she stood in line to see the late Queen laid in state.
So what was Britain’s under-threatened national treasure supposed to do? Well, take it out of the closet, of course. Launch a PR charm offensive and do something she hasn’t done in over a decade and speak to the press. Even if it was a bit cloudy.
Mrs Willoughby spent 15 minutes on the red carpet of London’s O2 – a stark contrast to her usual awards regime.
She walked separately from Mrs. Hammond, who arrived 20 minutes later.
When asked to address the toxic culture claims that have flooded the show, she said, “We are very blessed, we have a great team of people, we really do.
“I know it’s been talked about a lot and for me personally I don’t want to speak on behalf of other people, it’s a world I don’t recognize.
“For me, I look around and see the team getting ready and giving it their all. I just want to come to work and have more of that.”
While that may not have worked out well for some of the staff on the programme, she was supportive of her friend Ms Hammond, adding: ‘Alison doesn’t need any advice tonight. She’s great, just like she is on television.’
Duo: Ant and Dec pictured on the National Television Awards red carpet
Selfie time: Ant and Dec pose with two fans
Leading ladies: Celebrities on the red carpet included Davina McCall
Big Night: Alex Jones also poses for a photo on the red carpet
People close to Ms Willoughby said she should speak out last night in hopes she can ‘start again tomorrow’.
The presenter has been grappling for some time with the fallout from Schofield’s departure from This Morning and that it will be her job to ‘turn things around’ after she – as the strong woman she has vowed to be – takes the helm of This Morning took over.
Sources close to Ms Willoughby say she decided honesty was the best thing she could do to deal with the criticism.
It coincides with her agreement to stay with This Morning, which lost to The Repair Shop in the best daytime show category last night.
One said, “Holly knows she has to answer questions on This Morning Face and tell the story. It was difficult. She knows this is a tough time, but she’s made a pact with herself to mix and handle the hard with the smooth.
“That’s why she’s here tonight dealing with what’s been difficult for her and for the show.”
Away from the tribulations of morning television, it was a joyous evening for BBC1’s Happy Valley as it won the recurring drama award.
And the night only got better for lead actor Sarah Lancashire, who beat out co-star James Norton to win Best Dramatic Performance after the NTAs dropped separate Best Actor and Best Actress categories.
Sparkles: Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid arrives at the O2
Smile: Line of Duty star Vicky McClure takes a turn on the carpet
Thumbs up: Olly Murs looks happy to be at the awards ceremony
Ms Lancashire said: ‘It’s a great thing to have, we didn’t know if we were going to win it. It’s a great accolade, great for Sally Wainwright.”
But despite winning the NTAs and beating Call The Midwife, Ms Lancashire confirmed that the beloved show would not be returning for a fourth series.
The 58-year-old said: ‘No, because the story is complete – it’s a story told as a trilogy, which is the best way to tell the story. The danger is that you go on and on, and then it loses its power.’
Ms Lancashire, who played harassed policewoman Catherine Cawood, also spoke of her delight at seeing more and more older actresses winning roles, saying: ‘I think things are changing and this has been needed for a long time.
“But evolution is slow and we have to catch up.”
Graham Norton beat out Piers Morgan for best TV interview, while his ex Good Morning Britain co-presenter Susanna Reid paraded down the red carpet in a red dress as she debuted her new short hair.
Meanwhile, veteran Line of Duty police drama actress Vicky McLure also stunned at the event – held at London’s O2 Arena – in a black Versace gown.
One Show host, Alex Jones, also pulled out the stops in a white feather minidress.
Big Brother presenter Davina McCall, 55, beamed on the red carpet in an E Stott jumpsuit with her latest boyfriend, hairdresser Michael Douglas, 48.