KATE Garraway choked back tears tonight as she was honoured for her documentary on husband Derek Draper’s gruelling battle with Covid.
The GMB presenter, 54, got a standing ovation at the National Television Awards for Finding Derek.
Wiping away tears, she said: “Thank you so much for voting. I wonder if the reason you did because our story is your story.
“We’ve all been touched by the pandemic. Whether it’s livelihood, mental health, all the other extraordinary documentaries which have been highlighted and nominated tonight, they have also been affected by the pandemic.”
She added — referencing her two children and husband — “I want to say to all the other Darceys and Billys and Dereks — whatever you’re going through and however you are affected, you are not forgotten.
“We want the joy back. We want it to be over. But if you are still living with the scares. The fight goes on. But of course, most of all, Derek. Who should be here.
“Who should have the chance to tell his story, Derek, you are going to get the chance. Believe. The hope is real.”
The Good Morning Britain presenter, 54, won the Authored Documentary category for Finding Derek.It was a moving account of his year in hospital after after being struck down by the virus in March 2020.
Kate had battled to continue working on GMB while caring for her husband who spent months in a coma, as well as looking after the children.
Derek’s body was ravaged by the virus, with his kidneys failing, his liver and lungs damaged and his heart and pancreas malfunctioning.
Viewers saw Kate struggling to come to terms with the fact Derek, 54, is unlikely to be the same again after doctors told her he was the sickest man they had to treat in the past 12 months.
She received a standing ovation from a star-studded audience at London’s O2 Arena as she stepped up on stage to collect the gong.
She said: “It was hugely brave decision of ITV to commission this — they didn’t know what they were making, they didn’t know they were making a story about bereavement or about a triumph.”
She said it was unclear whether they would see a family in grief or relief — adding: “In the end it ended up being something between the two.”
Speaking backstage, Kate admitted: “I wasn’t sure about coming, not because I’m not extraordinarily proud of it, but it felt a strange time to be leaving the family and I’ve been feeling very sad about Derek.
“On the way I met someone who had lost her husband and it’s for them. It’s everyone’s story.”
Ant & Dec were the night’s other big winners at the awards ceremony which was screened live on ITV.
The Geordie pair, both 45, scooped the TV Presenter gong for a record twentieth year in a row. And I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!, which they host, won the Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award.
Ant said: “The first year we won an NTA, Tony Blair was the Prime Minister and Newcastle qualified for the Champions League. That just goes to show how long ago that was.
Dec added: “It’s pretty overwhelming, to be honest with you. When you get to 20, you can’t help but stop and look back at the first one. So much has changed in both of our lives since then but what hasn’t changed is how unbelievably grateful we are that you take time to vote for us. We are honoured and humbled.”
Coronation Street also scored a stunning victory over rivals EastEnders with a hat-trick of gongs.
It won Best Serial Drama while two cast members, Mollie Gallagher who plays Nina Lucas and Jude Riordan as Sam Blakeman, won the Serial Drama Performance and Newcomer awards respectively.
The Best Drama went to Channel 4’s It’s A Sin, starring Olly Alexander, about the 1980s’ Aids crisis.
David Tennant’s captivating performance as serial killer Denis Nilsen in Des saw him receive the Drama Performance award.
Strictly Come Dancing was best Talent Show, the Great British Bake Off was top Challenge Show and Gogglebox won the Factual category.
Ricky Gervais’ After Life won the Comedy category and Beat the Chasers — a spin off of The Chase — was named best Quiz Game Show.
And there was victory for Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield as This Morning won the Daytime gong
She planted a kiss on him, before backstage he talked of the challenges of presenting the show during lockdown, and paid tribute to her.
Phil said: “Can I just say, when the chips are down and you find yourself in a situation you’ve never been through before, you’re on the telly in a bizarre year . . . and you’re going through it with a mate.
“My best friend (Holly) was quite incredible. She is just the best friend to have.”