As you now know, I was invited last minute to attend the National Television Awards yesterday. The glitz! The glamour! The lost-pair-of-gloves I found on the way! (Karma since I lost mine on Sunday?!)
Before I go into (hefty) detail about the night, here’s a primer:
The National Television Awards (or the NTAs, as they’re known here) are HUGE. TV (or “tele”), in fact, is huge. The most popular series and stars are probably the soaps (known as “Serial Drama”), which don’t air during the daytime likes ours do, but rather at night. Then there’s “Factual Entertainment” (which might include The Apprentice, which they have here and was nominated; and The Great British Bake Off, which is probably most like our Top Chef or Cake Boss.); Another big category is “Talent Show,” (nominees included Britain’s Got Talent, Dancing on Ice, Strictly Come Dancing — the original Dancing With the Stars — The Voice and The X Factor). I found the “Situation Comedy” category, well, comedic as the long-running Absolutely Fabulous was still a nominee as was the American show The Big Bang Theory, which I STILL don’t get. I just don’t see the appeal. Then again, I’ve never really given it a shot, so…
It’s hard to know exactly what the American award show equivalent would be, but I’d say it’s closest to the People’s Choice Awards in that I don’t think it’s super-super prestigious (like the Oscars or the BAFTAs or the Emmy’s) and the winners are, in fact, determined by the people. All in all, the categories, some of which I listed above, seemed to group shows very randomly. For example, The Graham Norton Show, a talk show of sorts, is in the same “Entertainment Programme” category as the very popular The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE), which is probably like The Hills. Oh, and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! is also in that same category. Odd, no?
Sinead, Fabulous‘ deputy, and I arrived at the O2 arena via the tube at 6:30 and headed straight for the pre-show reception. (Rachel, Fabulous‘ editor, was finishing up coverlines and would meet us later at the after-party since we weren’t meant to be sitting together anyway.)
While I was super excited and thankful to have been included in such a glamorous event, I really had no idea who most of the attendees and nominees were — except, of course, for the cast of Downton Abbey. And who should I see before we even get our names checked off the list? Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)! Unfortunately, he’d be the only Downton cast member we’d see all night. (That close-up, at least. “Daisy” was there, as was “Mrs. Hughes,” who accepted the award for “Best Drama” on the show’s behalf, but we didn’t see them milling about.)
We had a bit of (free) wine and Sinead gave me a who’s-who primer as we gawked at the fashion, which ran the gamut from full-on-gaudy (or “chav” as they’d say here) to more trendy, classically chic:
Apparently our tickets had gotten lost in the mail, so once we were given a makeshift pass, we just roamed around the arena looking for our seats. Oddly enough, it was pretty easy to do that. Back at home, at big venues like MSG or the new Barclay’s, you can’t just freely move from section to section without proper credentials or tickets. (Though, my sister and I DID cry our way into a DMB show one year without ANY tickets whatsoever. A proud moment, indeed.) We finally managed to find an usher who verified our supposed-seats and were sat right with the nominees, closest to the cast of Hollyoaks. (Think 90210-meets-Days of Our Lives.) To our right, screaming fans were hanging over the railing with their cameras, hoping for autographs and pics. (Not of us, just in case you were wondering.)
All in all, I was most enamored by just being at an awards ceremony. I have been watching the Oscars, the Emmy’s, the Globes, etc. ever since I can remember from the comfort of my own couch. (Usually with my sister and Mom!) I’m such a devout watcher that although I like the idea of hosting or going to an awards show party, I like to actually hear the awful introductions and acceptance speeches. So it was really a treat to not only BE there, but to actually (sorta) be a part of it. (In fact, we were sitting so close to the stage that when we got up to get a drink or go to the bathroom we had SEAT FILLERS so our spots weren’t empty on camera! Can you believe? I could not.
Also, since the show was live, I got to see what happens during commercial breaks. Mostly, people were just gabbing and moving about on the floor, posing for Instagram photos, updating status’ or Tweeting. (The same thing we all do during commercial breaks at home on the couch, if you think of it.) There’s also an announcer saying things overhead that most people aren’t paying much attention to. The one thing I did notice was him counting down to the show coming back from break so that we’d all applaud real loud. It was also neat to watch the host, Demot O’Leary — clearly the British Ryan Seacrest — do a stellar job of reading from the teleprompter. I guess I always knew that the host’s schpeal was scripted, but it always looks so off-the-cuff on camera. (Well, depending on who’s delivering it.) O’Leary rocked it so he could’ve fooled me.
My favorite part of the actual show was a) first learning that a dog named Pudsey had won Britain’s Got Talent and then b) watching him do a dance to Gangnam Style. If that’s not entertainment, I don’t know what is!
Following the show, those of us with VIP tickets all shuffled back into the lobby area for the after-party. Now, I’ve been to a lot of A-list parties back in New York, but I have to say, this was both very low-key and very glam at the same time. First, all the celebs and journos mingled together. There was no roped-off area for the A-B-C-listers and nobody was off-limits for a chat. At least, if they were, we didn’t get the memo. Since we were closing Fabulous‘ birthday issue that day, Rachel went around asking celebs to pose with a laminated sign that said “Happy 5th Birthday Fabulous” on it to feature in the mag. Many obliged and mostly it was just real fun watching her in action. One of the people she asked to pose was the hunky Mark Wright who’s on Towie. Can’t show the pic just yet as we’ve only just gone to press, but here’s something for you to drool over in the meantime:
Rachel was super lovely about making sure to introduce me to everyone — journos, PR’s and celebs, alike. In fact, immediately after meeting Mark Wright’s PR (below with Rachel) I shamelessly admitted how handsome I thought he was. Minutes later, when we went to have him pose with the sign, Sara (the PR) made sure I “got a proper snog,” as Rachel called it. (Just a double kiss, not at all what I thought a “snog” was…?!) His after-shave lingered for at least 5 minutes. (PS. He has a celebrity girlfriend and apparently leaves little to be desired in the intellect department, so don’t get any ideas.)
I managed to not get drunk, which was actually easier than I thought it’d be considering how we started the night with wine at 7p.m., drank a bit through the show and the party lasted til 1a.m. But I (smartly) took full advantage of the passed food (don’t I always?!): bowls of fish ‘n’ chips, risotto, a ridiculous vegetarian sausage (that didn’t at all taste meat-less) and mashers. I left full, a tad buzzed and dying to take my heels off. All in all, it was good fun.
The better part of the morning today was spent gossiping about the night before. Usually I’m the one choosing the best/worst photos for the weekly SNAPS back at The Post, so it was different to have seen them first-hand. Here’s what The Sun did:
OK! This post has gone on way too long, so for those of you who stuck with me, thanks! Can’t wait to show you the pages featuring the photos Rachel took with the sign. Oh, and here’s a more profesh round-up of the evening that I (sorta) worked on with our Web writer for the Fabulous blog.
Looking forward to just going home and watching TV tonight. Being “on it” is just exhausting, ya know? 😉