ESSEX’S finest are to battle it out for glory in the forthcoming National Television Awards.
Colchester's Dermot O'Leary, acting legend Dame Maggie Smith and the inimitable Joey Essex have all been shortlisted for awards, it was revealed today **tues* Dermot, who went to St Benedict's College and Colchester Sixth Form College, is trying to knock national treasures Ant and Dec off the podium in the contest for best entertainment presenter.
Fellow nominees Keith Lemon, Alan Carr and Graham Norton are also in the running to try to end the Geordie duo’s record-breaking run of 12 consecutive wins.
Dermot, 40, has also been shortlisted in the Talent Show category for The X Factor.
Other nominees in the category include Britain’s Got Talent, Dancing On Ice and The Voice UK.
Dame Maggie Smith has also received two shortlist nominations for this year’s awards.
After enjoying success at last year’s ceremony, Dame Maggie and the cast of Downton Abbey will be hoping to take away the trophy for the drama category for the third year running.
Rivalry will be fierce with the period drama facing competition from cult TV series Doctor Who - which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 - crime thriller Broadchurch and the popular Call The Midwife.
The multi-award winning actress has also been nominated in the coveted drama performance category for her role as Violet Crawley. She will be up against Call The Midwife’s Miranda Hart, Doc Martin’s Martin Clunes and Doctor Who actor Matt Smith.
And Joey Essex is in contention for a prize as a contestant in the hit show I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
The programme, which had 12 million viewers, in the in running for the entertainment programme prize against competition from Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Celebrity Juice and The Graham Norton Show.
Baker Ruby Tandoh may also taste success as part of The Great British Bake Off.
Ruby, from Leigh, was a finalist in the show which had BBC2's best viewing figures in a decade. The show will compete against Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, Top Gear and An Idiot Abroad for the title in the Factual Entertainment category.
Viewers can now vote for their favourites and the winners will be announced at the star-studded ceremony on January 22 on ITV.
To vote free, go to www.nationaltvawards.com or by phone on 0901 888 2014.
Calls cost no more than 26p per minute plus no more than 15p connection charge from BT landlines; other networks may be higher and mobiles will be considerably more.