Edmonds seals comeback in TV awards

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The Independent Online

Seven years after his television career crumbled, Noel Edmonds has sealed his comeback at this year's National Television Awards.

The host of Deal or No Deal, an afternoon game show with five million viewers, won the award for best daytime television show.

A decade ago, Edmonds, a staple of Saturday night viewing, was the highest-paid entertainer on British television and shortlisted for the Television Awards for Noel's House Party.

But after almost 30 years of ubiquity, the former Radio 1 DJ, who presented Top of the Pops in the late Seventies and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop into the Eighties, saw his star fall as the BBC wielded the axe on Noel's House Party.

Just over a year ago Edmonds, 57, was described in one newspaper as "a man who is increasingly succumbing to bitterness and melancholy".

But since then he has found success with the daytime show on Channel 4 Deal or No Deal, a programme in which contestants are not required to rely on skill or knowledge, but instead select a box containing a sum of money up to £250,000.

And in March, Edmonds, who credits his success to Cosmic Ordering - a spiritual system where you make requests to the Universe - had his contract for presenting the show extended until Autumn 2007, in a deal rumoured to be worth £3m.

Last night Edmonds, who was unable to receive his accolade last night because he was on holiday in Mauritius, said: "I'm thrilled - especially thrilled because these awards come from the people."

The BBC science fiction drama series Doctor Who won three awards last night including most popular drama. David Tennant, who won most popular actor for his role as the time-travelling Doctor - taking over from Christopher Eccleston, last year's winner - joked backstage: "Thank goodness I didn't let the side down, eh? That would have been a tragedy.

"It's difficult to come into something that's been such a great success. It's a bit daunting, whether you're going to do as good a job as Chris. It means a lot." Tennant's former co-star, Billie Piper, won best actress for Rose Tyler in the series.

The motoring show Top Gear received the support of viewers after its presenter Richard Hammond recently had a near-fatal accident, and it took the award for most popular factual programme.

On collecting the award, Jeremy Clarkson, the co-presenter, said: "I told you if one of us has a car accident we would win this. They have set this up for Hammond haven't they?

"He's fine, completely fixed. The doctors say he's got to get a little bit better before he can come and face the flashbulbs.

"This will cheer him up and also cheer up the Top Gear team who have had a pretty horrid time over the last few weeks." Backstage, Clarkson said that their next series would be just as dangerous as their previous one.

Most popular entertainment presenter was won by Ant & Dec - Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly - repeating their success of the past five years.

The pair also won the quiz programme award for Ant & Dec's Game Show Marathon, beating Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, which has won for the past seven years.

As a reflection of the ongoing popularity of celebrity-reality culture, this year's awards included a new category for most popular reality television performer. The award was won by the Big Brother contestant Nikki Grahame, while presenter Davina McCall collected the prize for most popular reality show.

Sir David Attenborough was given a lifetime Achievement Award for his work on wildlife documentaries, which was presented by Terri Irwin, wife of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, at the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall.

National Television Awards

Most Popular Actress

Billie Piper, Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Most Popular Actor

David Tennant, The Doctor, Doctor Who

Most Popular Daytime Programme

Deal Or No Deal

Most Popular Comedy

Little Britain

Most Popular TV Contender

Nikki, Big Brother

Most Popular Factual

Top Gear

Most Popular Newcomer

Charlie Clements, Bradley Branning, EastEnders

Most Popular Entertainment Presenters

Ant and Dec

Most Popular Drama

Doctor Who (third win)

Most Popular Quiz

Ant and Dec's Gameshow Marathon

Most Popular Entertainment

The X Factor

Most Popular Reality

Big Brother

Most Popular Serial Drama