National Television Awards 2019 – Musings of an attendee…

Another National Television Awards ceremony has passed and it was an interesting, slightly controversial star-studded evening.

As an entertainment blogger with big love for all things telly and a working relationship and indeed friendships with a few familiar names from the small screen, I like to attend the awards whenever possible. I was a regular attender of the National Television Awards during the good old days when the Royal Albert Hall was the venue for the event. This year saw my third visit to the show since the move to the O2 and the extortionate charge to meet the celebrities on the red carpet came into being.

I’m often asked if it’s as good to be there as it looks on the telly and whether it’s worth paying for a ticket to go etc. The honest answer is that you do get a better view on your television at home, however I also believe that everybody should experience it at least once. Had the ceremony and set up remained the same as during Sir Trevor McDonald’s tenure – then I wouldn’t have hesitated to recommend that everyone with a passion for television pays a visit and indeed for a ticket, if they can. Every trip to the O2 for me has been widely different, however what stood out this time was the number of people in the audience who were going in and out of the auditorium at regular intervals and not during commercial breaks. This was disruptive to the evening itself for us members of the public. It’s no mean feat going up and down those stairs all the time either, they must have had a great workout!

The basic charge before fees for a red carpet ticket which includes a seat at the ceremony itself is £120. Prior to the move to the O2 it was free to attend the red carpet before and after the ceremony. There was a degree of scrambling which was kept under control by stewards, however on the whole it wasn’t a bad experience and helped to build up the excitement and anticipation before we piled into the venue itself. During commercial breaks inside the Albert Hall the nominees would make their way over to have photos with us and sign autographs too. It felt like we were all in it together, actors, crew members, directors, producers and us, the viewers.

As it’s an awards ceremony voted for by the public, back in those days it truly felt like the public got something back for supporting the various television shows. If you didn’t have an opportunity to see your favourite celebrity before the show or during, there was always a good chance that you would meet them afterwards. Indeed I was able to arrange to meet friends who were nominated and we’d easily find one another amongst the throng. On all three occasions that I’ve been in the audience at the O2 it’s been impossible to meet any nominees in my social and working circle.

So why the big change? Security risks are heightened of course due to a vast number of reasons and social media and all its pitfalls have also added to the mix. There are a few ‘fans’ out there who troll celebrity social media accounts and they could be loose cannons on occasions such as these I expect. It’s such a shame though because the event which I have always loved being a part of now feels like an us and them situation – those who are on TV versus those who aren’t. Separated and kept under lock and key by more security staff than you can shake a stick at – and you’d be wise not to shake a stick or you’d find yourself back on the tube before the stars were in their seats. Which wouldn’t be difficult! At the Royal Albert Hall the nominees were always seated well in advance of the show going live. At the O2 it’s almost more entertaining to watch the celebrities being herded in, rather like cats, than it is to watch the show. As you will no doubt have spotted on your screens this year, they are seldom in their seats ahead of the show being broadcast.

Although there is a notable barrier between Joe public and the television greats, there are a handful of stars who like to boogie with the warm up man and get the crowd ready to party. This year Brendan O’Carroll and Jennifer Gibney aka Mrs Brown and Cathy Brown were having a dance and cheering with the audience before Dermot came on to do his thing. Last year we had Ruth Langsford and Alison Hammond strutting their stuff. The various television theme tunes are blasted out and we can see footage from the red carpet to spark our enthusiasm. It’s after that I feel the show becomes something of a damp squib.

The positive side of the night for me personally is that I go with friends and we have a brilliant time. This year we were treated to a ‘red carpet’ make over by Bobbi Brown UK in John Lewis and Partners, Oxford Street ahead of the show and spent our time enjoying a good catch up. It is what you make it, and if you want to spend the big bucks to meet the stars on the red carpet, the opportunity is there. It’s not what we’re keen to do but it would certainly be an experience not to be forgotten I’m sure. You can book tickets for next year so if you feel it’s time to see what all the fuss is about and see the inside of the awards for yourself, book now:

Photo Credits: National Television Awards/ITV


My Autumn Television Favourites

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons, it’s a far more welcome sight when it takes over from a glorious summer and this year, us brits have been spoiled, sunny days making staycations the holiday of choice for many. Television isn’t always at the forefront of our minds, when outside looks so inviting we tend to forget the box indoors.

It might be just me, but I’ve long been of the opinion that the selection of television programmes reflects the fact that most of us won’t be lounging on the sofa at the end of a long day at work. However, with the change of season comes a change of TV shows and I am loving the full Sky Box planner. My top 5 must-watch programmes this autumn are a heady mix of variety and drama, take a look:

Strictly Come Dancing

When that glitter ball trophy’s up for grabs each autumn, I’m ready for BBC One to take over my television on Saturday and Sunday nights. I love everything about Strictly Come Dancing, from the judges (Shirley Ballas is a fantastic replacement for Len Goodman) to the inspired mixture of contestants from across sports, television, etc. I also have a thing for professional dancer, Aljaz Skorjanec! So the sight of him cheers me up no end as the dark nights draw in. I am sorry that he and Kate Silverton have been voted off the show, as not only does that reduce my Aljiaz time, but I also really like and respect Kate – she was coming on leaps and bounds. It’s the ultimate autumn AND winter telly, though and much as I miss Sir Brucie (RIP) you’ve gotta love Claudia with her one liners and dry wit. It’s a TEN from every member of the panel at Entertainment Views HQ.

Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor has stolen my heart and mind! She is everything I hoped she’d be and more. Sunday evenings are so much better for a dose of Doctor Who and together with her band of companions, the Doctor is rocking some exceptional storylines. Chris Chibnall should be congratulated for injecting verve, vibrancy and very current topics into the scripts. The Tardis has never been in better hands. The guest stars are brilliant too, Lee Mack was certainly a favourite (if not short-lived) addition in one episode and I can’t wait to see Phyllis Logan, I think she’ll be awesome as usual. Whittaker is my new favourite since the wondrous David Tennant took over the Tardis. If I’m not mistaken, their characterisation of the Doctor is similar.

I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here

Dingo dollars, Kiosk Kev (ahhh see ya later Kiosk Keith!) and a brand new set of celebrities for Dec and his newly appointed assistant, Holly Willoughby to play with! With Noel Edmonds has been the first camp mate to cause a stir, all seemed fairly settled in both camps until he became Emperor. Harry Redknapp is already established as one of my favourites, his stories are fantastic and he’s such a down to earth bloke. Anne Hegerty is doing a great job of raising the awareness of Autism and actually not handling jungle life too badly, although she does like to use the phrase ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ she has no qualms about it. Nick Knowles is proving himself to be a kind and useful sort of person and Rita Simons is so to the point, I love her. I haven’t picked a winner yet but there are a few who already deserve the crown. A superb line up this year!

There She Goes

This has just finished on BBC Four and it has been gripping yet hilarious drama. In fact it’s been the type of programme you feel it’s disrespectful to laugh at and yet that’s exactly what the script and performances are inviting the audience to do. There She Goes centres around a girl called Rosie who is learning disabled and although she’s age 9 she’s suffering from severe developmental delay. David Tennant and Jessica Hynes play her parents and they’re a great tag team, an ideal combination to take on a challenging drama peppered with light comedy. Watching their daily struggles, flashbacks to when Rosie was born and they were looking for answers and the brutal reality of the consequences of her impairment are at once cringe-worthy and life-affirming. It’s been a must-see series and if you can get it on catch up, I highly recommend you give it a watch.

The Apprentice

You’re fired! Good old Sir Alan is back with his straight-faced sidekicks, Karen and Claude (bring back Nick and Margaret!). Lord Sugar’s in search of a new business partner and as usual, there are a selection of candidates vying for the prestigious position and kicking each other when they’re down in a bid to be the one to win the prize. As much as there are always a number of candidates whom I find perpetually annoying, I always take a step back and remember that editing takes responsibility for the persona of each individual. Although the business world is dog eat dog and that is reflected in their behaviour. Some of the tasks have had me glued, the art gallery in particular was a fascinating watch and I had the fired candidate pegged from the start. Other weeks it’s not been so easy to guess. This series has renewed my love of the show, though and I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Photo Credits: BBC & ITV 

An Evening With Sir Bruce Forsyth – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams


What can we say? The man is a legend and this proved to be an evening of entertainment not to be missed. Brucie is still every inch the Comedian, with a powerful singing voice (considering his 85 years) and the ability to tap dance, albeit mainly from the comfort of a stool.

Of course the show opened with a “Nice To See You To See You….” “NICE!” and naturally there was the Brucie pose that we have come to know and love. Dave Arch and his orchestra who have become ever-popular as the backing artists for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ provided high quality music for the evening and there were plenty of laughs courtesy of Don Hunt, who has served as Bruce’s Musical Director for over thirty years. The rapport between the two of them was quite something and Hunt fast became an audience ‘favourite’ throughout the show.

What we found to be a delightful touch was that Forsyth made a trip around the auditorium to shake hands with enthusiastic audience members and this interaction formed the basis of the evening. Later on, three male audience members were pulled up on stage to ‘copy’ Forsyth’s dance moves to ‘Top Hat’ which was simply hilarious and an unwitting lady sitting in the stalls performed a quick step with him! Brucie is a ‘people person’ and we felt that there were no airs and graces, he is still exceedingly humbled by all of the attention and applause. In fact in our opinion Symphony Hall should have sold out because he deserves to fill every venue he visits.

‘You’re Just Too Good To Be True’ and ‘I Made It Through The Rain’ were a couple of the numbers that Brucie treated us to and he has a strong and melodic tone, the album that he has released entitled ‘These Are My Favourites’ features the songs that he included in the show. The Question and Answer session at the end of the night was intimate and a cut above those we’ve seen in the past at similar style shows featuring other artists. Garry was pleased to have his question answered and we both left the auditorium feeling like we’d had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

On this current tour, Bruce was only committed to three dates, however he has been announced as appearing at Glastonbury this year and we’re sure there will be more dates fixed soon. Keep your eyes peeled and keep dancing!

Anton and Erin Go To Hollywood – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewed by Garry McWilliams

A non-stop show case of slick choreography, with toe-tapping musical numbers and show-stopping presentation – Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag played to a full house and deservedly so.

With Lance Ellington (vocalist from Strictly Come Dancing) as their singer accompanied by the London Concert Orchestra, the musicality of the show was simply outstanding. Four dancers (namely Francine Cornell, Gemma Facinelli, Tom Goodall and Chris Piper) also joined in some of the numbers and they were versatile, sharp and matched the capabilities of Anton and Erin.

Highlights of Act One were ‘Top Hat’ which was a Quick Step based dance performed with great precision, it undoubtedly had the ‘wow’ factor. ‘Me and My Shadow’ performed predominantly as a vocal duet by Anton and Lance had it all, Anton can certainly hold a tune and it was laced with comedy and laugh-out-loud moments. ‘I remember It well’ was a hilarious duet performed by Anton and Erin, with changed lyrics – it had the audience in raptures.

Throughout the show, both Anton and Erin interacted with the audience and chatted about ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, demonstrating a good rapport off the dance floor, too. A funny moment came when Anton spotted a member of the audience disappearing and found out that she and her husband had a granddaughter on the way anytime soon. It was a nice personal touch that Anton asked after their new arrival at regular intervals throughout the evening. It was evident that Du Beke is as talented as a comedian as he is a dancer.

Act Two brought a wonderful orchestral number ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, ‘Wunderbar’ which Anton and Erin danced in the style of Viennese Waltz which was particularly beautiful and a show-stopping finale of ’42nd Street’. This final delight included some tap steps and showed off the incredible talent of every dancer on the stage.

There was a box in the foyer for questions that were put to Anton and Erin in Act Two. This was yet another opportunity for interaction with the audience and there was an air of anticipation and excitement as everyone hoped that their question would be chosen. We were quite disappointed that ours wasn’t! I have included the full selection of questions together with their answers at the end of the article.

In summary, this is a superb night out for any fans of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ballroom dancing enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys musical theatre.
The tour runs until the end of March this year and will return to the Symphony Hall in Birmingham on 3rd March. Go to for a full tour date and venue list and to book tickets.

Question and Answer Session:

Q: How Often Do You Step On Each Others’ Toes and Who Is The Worst Culprit?

A: We occasionally step on each others toes, but if you move your body properly, your feet will go where they’re supposed to and it won’t happen.

Q: (to Erin) How Many Dance Partners Did It Take To Get Anton?

A: I had one when I came over to the UK from New Zealand, but I dumped him because he spent too much time in the pub. I made a list of who I’d most like to dance with in the dance world and Anton was at the top of the list.

Q: If you could dance with any of the Strictly Come Dancing judges, who would you pick and which dance would you choose?

A: (Erin) Darcey! [Bussell] Craig and Bruno would get on my nerves!
(Anton) Brucey!

Q: (to Anton) If You Were Prime Minister, What Would You Introduce?

A: Me as the winner of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, my show dance would last for 25 minutes!

Q: Have Either Of You Experienced A Wardrobe Malfunction?

A: (Erin) I did on this very stage four years ago. I was wearing a halter neck and I managed to catch the top as it fell. I then had to tell Anton (mid-way through the Quick Step) to help me to fasten it, again.

Q: How Long Does Anton Take To Get Ready?

A: (Erin) I apply his make-up for him, but he doesn’t take that long to get ready, he’s not that vain!


First published 04.02.13

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