NTAs 2022: Stephen Mulhern jokes about keeping award after he accepts it on behalf of Ant and Dec

Ant and Dec won the Best TV Presenter award at the NTAs for the 21st time in a row

Stephen Mulhern accepted the Best TV Presenter award on behalf of Ant and Dec last night.

Hosted by Masked Dancer presenter Joel Dommett, the 27th annual National Television Awards took place at the OVO Arena in London.

Popular faces Ant and Dec weren’t in attendance despite winning the award for the 21st time in a row.

However, Catchphrase host Stephen took to the stage to accept the award on behalf of the Geordies, who have both tested positive for Covid-19.

Stephen Mulhern collects the Best TV Presenter award on behalf of Ant & Dec, in the winners' room at the National Television Awards 2022 at OVO Arena Wembley on October 13, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Ant and Dec were up against This Morning’s Alison Hammond, The Chase’s Bradley Walsh and Graham Norton.

After Timur Miroshnychenko announced that the I’m A Celebrity duo won the Best TV Presenter award, Stephen took to the stage.

He said: “Well listen, Ant and Dec can’t be here for obvious reasons. They have given me some words to say, but I am not doing any of that dribble.”

After ripping up the speech, he adds: “Full respect to the guys. 21 years on the trot come on, but the reality is, this baby [the award] is coming home with me.”

Anthony McPartlin, Stephen Mulhern and Declan Donnelly, winners of the Entertainment Programme award for "Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway", pose in the press room at the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 08, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

He then produces a plaque from his pocket, which reads: “The nation’s favourite presenter, Stephen Mulhern.”

Just minutes later, Declan Donnelly - who was watching from home - fought back on social media, he wrote: “Oi @StephenMulhern, it took ages to write that speech!!!

“Thank you SO much for voting for us, it is always appreciated and never taken for granted. You’ve made us feel tons better! Huge love.”

Anthony Mcpartlin also made a friendly dig at the Catchphrase presenter. He wrote: “Oi Mulhern!! I’m watching you from home. Keep that award safe and we will see you at work soon (if you’re lucky!)

“A huge thank you to everyone who voted for us. From the bottom of our ♡ we are so so grateful.”

Stephen then made a joke about keeping the award as Ant and Dec have got “too many”.

He posted a picture of him kissing the TV Presenter award, with the caption: “You’ve got too many! I’ll look after this for a few years…

“All joking aside, nobody deserves it more! @antanddec”

Ant and Dec also won The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award after both Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! were.

The latter won the award, for the fouth time in a row, and last year’s King of the Jungle Danny Miller accepted the award on stage with other former stars.

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, winners of the Entertainment Programme award for "Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway", pose in the press room at the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 08, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

The duo told their fans not to expect them at the NTAs, whilst announcing they had Covid-19 on Wednesday.

They shared a picture of positive lateral flow tests to Twitter, writing: “Sadly, it’s true… We even get ill together!

“After feeling unwell a few days ago we both tested and we’re positive for Covid. We’re resting up at home and are so sorry we can’t be at #NTAs2022.

“Best of luck everyone and get well soon to anyone else in the same boat x”

That same night, Stephen had to step in for Ant & Dec to present Britain’s Got Talent: The Ultimate Magician.

The two-hour special show brought together magicians from past series to compete to win £50,000.