Sir Lenny Henry will be presented with NTAs’ Special Recognition Award
Sir Lenny Henry will receive the coveted gold Special Recognition Award from the NTAs at Thursday night’s annual ceremony.
This year’s National Television Awards will honor the 64-year-old and his pioneering career on British television, spanning nearly 50 years.
Celebrity fans will pay tribute to the comedian and fundraising Comic Relief frontman when the awards are broadcast live on ITV from the OVO Arena, Wembley.
Loved-up: Sir Lenny Henry receives the NTA’s coveted gold Special Recognition Award at Thursday night’s annual ceremony
Sir Lenny has been a mainstay on TV for nearly 50 years, starting with his 1975 win over New Faces at age 16, leading to further accolades in such era-defining shows as Tiswas and Three of a Kind.
He broke new ground for black talent and then enjoyed huge success with his own sketch comedy series before playing a key role in the formation of Comic Relief.
More recent projects have seen him diversify into acting, most notably on stage as Othello and on screen in the big-budget Amazon Prime series, Lord of the Rings: the Rings of Power.
Icon: This year’s National Television Awards will honor the 64-year-old and his pioneering career on British television, spanning nearly 50 years (pictured on Tiswas in the 1970s)
New role: He has diversified into acting on more recent projects, most notably in the big-budget Amazon Prime series, Lord of the Rings: the Rings of Power
Among those who congratulate Sir Lenny on his achievements as a writer, campaigner, comedian and broadcaster is Hollywood superstar Whoopi Goldberg, who says: ‘If you want to know what a superhero looks like, take a look at Sir Lenny Henry.’
However, two notable faces will be missing from Thursday’s NTA ceremony, as MailOnline revealed on Wednesday that Ant and Dec have pulled out after being knocked down with Covid.
The TV duo, which won best presenter at the NTAs 20 years in a row, has flu-like symptoms and is ‘bed-bound’ due to the contagious infection.
Big Break: Sir Lenny has been a TV mainstay for nearly 50 years, starting with his 1975 win over New Faces at age 16 (pictured)
Comedy Talents: He broke new ground for black talent and enjoyed huge success with his own sketch comedy series before landing a key role in Comic Relief
A spokesperson for Britain’s Got Talent announced on Wednesday that the couple is “unwell” and will not work until they recover.
A source told MailOnline: ‘Ant and Dec are upset. They love the NTAs, it’s the best night on TV and for them it’s an event they always look forward to.
“They are both feeling really bad, but will watch the show from bed and hope to be healthy and back to work soon.”
Varied career: Sir Lenny has taken on notable acting roles in recent years, appearing in dramas such as ITV’s Broadchurch in 2017
In love: Lenny Henry pictured with his partner Lisa Makin earlier this month
A spokesperson for Ant and Dec told MailOnline: ‘After they both felt unwell, Ant and Dec tested for Covid and unfortunately both tested positive.
“The duo put off work commitments while they recover.”
The couple confirmed the news on their Instagram account, sharing a photo of their positive tests as they joked, ‘We even get sick together!’
Their absence from the star-studded NTAs won’t go unnoticed by viewers, who have voted for Ant and Dec to win Best Presenter for over two decades.
But this year, This Morning host Alison Hammond, 47, is being tipped to finally end their winning streak.
Loose Women’s Nadia Sawalha has also withdrawn from the event due to illness and shared a video from her sickbed on Wednesday.
Watch the National Television Awards this Thursday 13th October, live from The OVO Arena Wembley on ITV and ITV Hub from 8pm
Oh no! Ant and Dec have pulled out of attending National Television Awards and Britain’s Got Talent: The Ultimate Magician after being hit by Covid, MailOnline can reveal
Oh sweetie: The couple confirmed the news on their Instagram account, sharing a photo of their positive tests as they joked, ‘We even get sick together!’