EXCL: Holly Willoughby reveals her fears for future as she runs NTA red carpet gauntlet: Star admits fan support has been ‘up and down’ since Phillip Schofield left and show’s fate is ‘up to the audience’ in awkward grilling – before This Morning was BOOED
Holly Willoughby probably would rather have been elsewhere last night than sashaying down a red carpet with millions watching – before being booed by the audience for the second NTA ceremony in a row.
She spent considerable time warding off questions about her own future, Phillip Schofield and allegations of a toxic atmosphere at ITV’s This Morning.
After a lacklustre return to screens alongside Alison Hammond after eight weeks off for her annual summer break, and losing 200,000 viewers, she knew there was no way she could get away with being a no-show at last night’s National Television Awards.
But Holly didn’t seem too worried by the ratings drop-off, telling MailOnline she ‘just wants the future to continue as it is.’
As she admitted, however, whether that future comes to pass is not down to her, or any of her co-hosts – instead it is down to the viewers, many of whom have become disillusioned by the show and its attempts to distract from claims of a toxic culture.
Holly spent considerable time on the red carpet warding off questions about her own future, Phillip Schofield and allegations of a toxic atmosphere at ITV’s This Morning
Fall from grace: The NTA audience appeared to boo scandal-plagued show This Morning during the star-studded ceremony
Holly avoided questions about her ex co-host Phillip Schofield, but admitted the future of the show was down to fans
Despite admitting fan support has been ‘up and down’, she still seems to have a loyal base of supporters who give her a sense of optimism for the future.
‘If I’m honest it’s been really up and down. But what’s lovely is people rallying around you. The support is there. People want us to do well. It all feels good again.’
‘I just want to the future to continue as it is. We are very blessed we have a great team of people we really do.’
She sought to focus on enjoying the NTAs on the red carpet, dodging questions around her former co-host and his ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a younger male colleague.
‘Everybody has been so lovely tonight and everyone is so happy to meet you. I mean you’re in their living room everyday it’s not like meeting someone from Coronation Street.
‘I know there’s been a lot of talk about things and for me personally, I don’t want to speak on behalf of other people, it’s a world I don’t recognise.
‘For me, I look around and see the team getting ready and giving it all. I just want to come to work and have more of that.’
For the second year running after the now-infamous queuegate scandal, Holly was shunned from being shortlisted for best presenter.
It was also the first time since she, as the host of the ITV show she joined in 2009, had attended without Phillip Schofield since they began working together 14 years ago.
Holly goes it alone! There were probably many other places Holly Willoughby would rather have been last night than sashaying down a red carpet with millions watching
Holly spoke exclusively to the Mail as she said she hopes the future will ‘continue as it is’
Alone: The presenter was dressed in most stunning lilac dress by British designer Suzanne Neville on the red carpet
Grand arrival: After two days of being ridiculed for her appearances during her This Morning comeback, she knew there was no way she could get away with being a no-show
Holly put on a smile as she left the NTAs, despite This Morning failing to win a single prize
Holly supported Alison, who is described within television circles as her ‘bestie’, as she went up against Ant and Dec for the best presenter title – with the Geordie duo winning the award for the 22nd time.
READ MORE: NTA 2023 LIVE: Ant and Dec win AGAIN! Duo beat fan favourite Alison Hammond to win Best Presenter for the 22nd time
She told MailOnline: ‘Alison doesn’t need any advice tonight. She’s wonderful, exactly what she’s like on the tele.
‘She came into the office today and said I know you’re wearing a dress but I brought you a belly chain I think it will really suit you.’
‘We’ve known each other for a really long time she’s been on this morning longer than me. It’s a really natural home for her.’
Asked whether she would like Alison to remain her on-screen partner, Holly added: ‘Ideally but I mean I ask myself who it will be but it’s not down to me, people seem to think I have a lot to say on a lot of issues, but it’s really down to the public.’
Holly spent 15 minutes on the red carpet at London’s O2 – a stark contrast to her usual awards regime.
She walked separately from Alison, who arrived 20 minutes later.
Holly posed for pictures with co-hosts Alison and Dermot O’Leary
Consolation prize? Holly wasn’t too downhearted following This Morning’s loss, as she tucked into a greasy burger in her taxi home
Focus of attention: Holly returned to This Morning on Monday alongside her new best friend Alison Hammond, with both stars gracing the red carpet as well
All smiles: Despite missing out the This Morning team put on brave faces and posed for a fun selfie
Duo: Ant and Dec pictured on the red carpet of the National Television Awards
Those close to Ms Willoughby said she had to speak out last night in the hope that she can ‘start again tomorrow’.
The presenter has for some time been wrestling with how Schofield’s exit affected This Morning and that it is her job to ‘turn things around’ after she – as the strong woman that she has vowed to be – took the helm of This Morning.
READ MORE: Maura Higgins turns heads as she puts on a VERY racy display in a daring cut out black gown at the National Television Awards
Sources close to Ms Willoughby say that she decided that the best thing she could do to deal with the criticism was to be honest.
It coincides with her agreement to stay with This Morning, which lost out to The Repair Shop last night in the best daytime show category.
One source said: ‘Holly knows she needs to answer questions about This Morning face on and tell the story. It has been difficult. She knows this is a tricky time but she has made a pact with herself to take the rough with the smooth and deal with it.
‘Hence why she is here tonight and actually dealing with what has been hard for her and hard for the show.’
Away from the tribulations of morning television, it was a joyful night for BBC1’s Happy Valley as it won the returning drama award.
And the night only got better for lead Sarah Lancashire who beat co-star James Norton to win the best dramatic performance after the NTAs scrapped separate categories for best actor and best actress.
Ms Lancashire said: ‘It’s a wonderful thing to have, we didn’t know if we would win it. It’s a great accolade – great for Sally Wainwright.’
Graham Norton beat Piers Morgan to best TV Interview while his ex Good Morning Britain co-host Susanna Reid paraded the red carpet in a red dress while debuting her new short hair.
Meanwhile, Line of Duty’s veteran cop-drama actress, Vicky McLure also stunned at the event – held at London’s O2 Arena – in a black Versace frock.
One Show host, Alex Jones, also pulled out the stops in a white feathered mini-dress.
Big Brother host Davina McCall, 55, beamed on the red carpet in an E Stott jumpsuit with her latest boyfriend, hairdresser Michael Douglas.
National Television Awards 2023: ALL THE WINNERS
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
Race Across the World
SAS: Who Dares Wins
The Traitors – WINNER
Deborah James: Bowelbabe in Her Own Words
Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now – WINNER
Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction
Rob Burrow: Living with MND
Call the Midwife
Happy Valley -WINNER
Ant & Dec – WINNER
Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs – WINNER
Sort Your Life Out
The Martin Lewis Money Show Live
Brenda Blethyn, DCI Vera Stanhope, Vera
India Amarteifio, Young Queen Charlotte, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
James Norton, Tommy Lee Royce, Happy Valley
Judy Parfitt, Sister Monica Joan, Call The Midwife
Sarah Lancashire, Catherine Cawood, Happy Valley – WINNER
The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
Gogglebox – WINNER
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
The Masked Singer
EastEnders – WINNER
Louis Theroux Interviews…
Piers Morgan Uncensored
The Chris & Rosie Ramsey Show
The Graham Norton Show – WINNER
Serial Drama Performance
Charlotte Jordan, Daisy Midgeley, Coronation Street
Danielle Harold, Lola Pearce-Brown, EastEnders – WINNER
Dominic Brunt, Paddy Kirk, Emmerdale
Maureen Lipman, Evelyn Plummer, Coronation Street
Quiz Game Show
Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel
Richard Osman’s House Of Games
The 1% Club – WINNER
The Chase Celebrity Special
Benjamin Chivers, Isaac, The Devil’s Hour
Bobby Brazier, Freddie Slater, EastEnders – WINNER
Channique Sterling-Brown, Dee-Dee Bailey, Coronation Street
Lewis Cope, Nicky Milligan, Emmerdale
The Repair Shop – WINNER
Young Sheldon- WINNER
Britain’s Got Talent
Strictly Come Dancing – WINNER
The Great British Bake Off
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