The National Television Awards 2018: who will win – and who should

The British public are going to give their verdict on the last 12 months of TV, so will hardy perennials like Ant & Dec be weeded out? Here are our predictions

The British public: give them a vote and you can rely on them to return a solid, sensible result. That’s the ethos behind The National Television Awards, the only gong show of its kind decided entirely by viewer opinion. So who’s going to go home with the top prizes from tonight’s celebratory ceremony at London’s O2 Arena? Our form guide for the nominated programmes and performers most likely to win is below, along with – heretical saboteurs that we are – some suggestions for what the TV electorate should have chosen instead…

Challenge Show

Will win: I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
Should win: Love Island

Defending champ I’m a Celebrity ought to have too much for the competition here, with series 17 memorable for a compelling and even moving narrative centring on alleged bullying victim Iain Lee. The glossy, muscly, steaming dark horse is Love Island: ITV2’s deceptively wholesome sex olympics fully penetrated the national conversation last summer.

Also nominated: The Great British Bake Off, MasterChef

Crime Drama

Broadchurch: Olivia Colman as DS Ellie Miller and David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy
Broadchurch: Olivia Colman as DS Ellie Miller and David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy Photograph: Colin Hutton/ITV

Will win: Broadchurch
Should win: Line of Duty

Line of Duty feels like a critically acclaimed, Guardian-y show, of the kind that normally gets trampled and spat on at the NTAs – but the move to BBC1, the ten million viewers for the finale and the fact that season four was insanely exciting give it a shot. It doesn’t have the fanbase to beat a resurgent Broadchurch, though. Sherlock is nommed but has never won an NTA: it airs in January, so a whole 12 months later, everyone’s either forgotten it or is still trying.

Also nominated: Little Boy Blue

Talent Show

Will win: Strictly Come Dancing
Should win: Strictly Come Dancing

Increasingly this category is a sparkly shoe-in for Strictly, since Simon Cowell’s ITV showcases both imploded some time ago: this year’s Britain’s Got Talent was notable mainly for the state-of-the-nation moment when an eight-year-old comedian came on and said something misogynist, while The X Factor finally slid completely into tone-deaf irrelevance.

Also nominated: The Voice UK


Doctor Foster
Doctor Foster Photograph: Laurence Cendrowicz/BBC/Drama Republic/Laurence Cendrowicz

Will win: Doctor Foster
Should win: Doctor Foster

The NTAs love a category shake-up, and a rejig’s left this one wide open. Of course Drama isn’t a new category, but with no Period Drama this time round, Call the Midwife is here to face off against last year’s surprise Drama winner, Casualty. Panting in the shadows with a sharpened hairbrush up its sleeve is Doctor Foster, a previous winner (of New Drama, which it obviously couldn’t win again even if that category still existed, which it doesn’t – hope you’re keeping up with this) that caused even more theorising, gossiping and live-tweeting in 2017 with its triumphantly doolally second season.

Also nominated: Liar, Game of Thrones

TV Presenter

Will win: Ant & Dec
Should win: Ant & Dec

It simply isn’t the NTAs if Ant & Dec don’t win – the only ceremony for the past 18 years when they’ve not had to do their humble-surprise routine was 2009, when they narrowly missed out due to the NTAs not taking place. (ITV had run out of money.) Unless the voting public take a harsh view of Ant McPartlin’s heavily tabloid-documented personal woes, which seems unlikely, up the pair toddle again.

Also nominated: Phillip Schofield, Bradley Walsh, Holly Willoughby

Factual Entertainment

Will win: Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy
Should win: Ambulance

An epochal fight between us down there and them up there: regular winner Gogglebox, which long since lost the element of surprise its citizen critics used to have, is under fire. Princes William and Harry are currently popular with the proletariat thanks to their inspirational children and/or lady-friends, and they melted even republican hearts back in July with a one-off, warmly emotional memoir of life as Princess Di’s sons. Just imagine, though, if Ambulance – BBC2’s heartbreaking portrait of NHS heroes – roared up and won. No chance.

Also nominated: Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs

Drama Performance

Will win: Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster)
Should win: Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster)

Jones has form over course and distance: in 2016 she won this category against David Tennant’s turn in Broadchurch, which earns him another nom now, and even the mighty Sheridan Smith, who’s also here again. This time Smith gets a nod for The Moorside, a stronger vehicle than 2016’s Black Work. On the other hand, her unwatchably oozy song-and-chat showcase Sheridan ought to have caused instant disqualification, if not deportation. Suranne it is.

Also nominated: Tom Hardy – Taboo, Jenna Coleman – Victoria

The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award

Mrs Brown’s Boys
Mrs Brown’s Boys Photograph: Alan Peebles/BBC Studios/Alan Peebles

Will win: All Round to Mrs Brown’s
Should win: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

The Entertainment category has cutely been renamed after the late Sir Brucie, but for rune-readers the interest is in two NTA titans suddenly landing in the same pool: All Round to Mrs Brown’s, the variety showcase that made the original Mrs Brown’s Boys look slick and cerebral, qualifies here and might topple the ordinarily invincible Saturday Night Takeaway. As always, Celebrity Juice is in the running, but is as likely to win as it is to feature a special round on Valerie Solanas.

Also nominated: The Graham Norton Show

Serial Drama

Will win: Emmerdale
Should win: Emmerdale

Last year Emmerdale shocked some, but not all, observers by finally edging out the big two soaps. There’s no reason why it can’t defend its title: it’s had another strong, solid year, and its digitally engaged fans will vote just as keenly. Meanwhile, Coronation Street and EastEnders have both overreached, with the too-horrible Pat Phelan storyline and the too-crap New Year heist respectively.

Also nominated: Hollyoaks


Peter Kay
Peter Kay Photograph: Matt Squire/BBC/Goodnight Vienna Productions

Will win: Peter Kay’s Car Share
Should win: Peter Kay’s Car Share

Often a depressingly weak category at the NTAs, and this year is no exception. Thank goodness for Peter Kay, whose sublimely romantic sitcom should make it two wins out of two with its second season. Rival nominees The Big Bang Theory and (2011 winner) Benidorm have been bridesmaids here for years – it would be weird if either of them beat Kay this time.

Also nominated: Still Open All Hours


Will win: The Chase
Should win: This Morning

A weird one, in that if the NTAs had only just started you might assume This Morning would walk it. Yet The Chase is going for its third win in succession and, after a year in which none of the nominees made a particular impact, it might do it again. Last time This Morning had the consolation of the Live Magazine Show category, which might as well have been renamed Best Show Called This Morning, but that’s gone now.

Also nominated: Loose Women, The Jeremy Kyle Show

TV Judge

Will win: David Walliams
Should win: Paul Hollywood

The 2017 super-heavyweight champion Mary Berry doesn’t qualify because she didn’t do the Channel 4 version of Bake Off. Paul Hollywood did, and it would be nice for the new GBBO to win something after it so graciously coped with a tricky change of personnel and channel. But were NTA voters backing Berry because they love Bake Off, or because they love Mary? If it was the latter, David Walliams might sneak up behind Paul Hollywood and surprise him.

Also nominated: Simon Cowell,


Jack Seale

The GuardianTramp

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