EXCLUSIVE: Joel Dommett on fatherhood, fame and hosting the National TV Awards 2023

 Joel Dommett is hosting the National TV Awards 2023
Joel Dommett is hosting the National TV Awards 2023

Joel Dommett is excited to be back at the helm for the starriest night on TV as he's back to host The National TV Awards 2023 for a third year in a row.

All the biggest names in TV will be gathered at London's O2 for the glitzy event which is broadcast live on ITV.

With brand new categories at this year's event, including Best TV Interview, a host of surprise guests, and emotional tributes to some of the big names we have sadly lost this year, including Paul O'Grady, Michael Parkinson and Len Goodman, Joel is gearing up for a night of high adrenaline and emotion.

And just to add to his nerves his wife, Hannah, is due to give birth to their first child very soon!

Here in an exclusive interview, Joel, 38, talks about preparations for the live show, being star-struck and imminent fatherhood...

So Joel, how does it feel being back on NTA hosting duties for a third year in a row?

Joel Dommett says, "The hat trick, it feels mad! To me the NTAs are like Christmas TV, the whole telly family getting together around the table, having a drink and a laugh. It’s a real privilege to be at the helm and I’m glad it’s back at the O2. It was at Wembley last year and no offense to Wembley but the O2 is much better because it’s newer!"

Which of this year’s shortlisted shows have you loved watching yourself?

"Hannah and I binge-watched The Traitors (shortlisted in Best Reality with Love Island, Race Across The World and SAS Who Dares wins). I love it when a little sleeper hit like that happens and gets everyone talking. Clarkson’s Farm (shortlisted in the Factual category with Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs, Sort Your Life Out, and The Martin Lewis Money Show) was a big hit in my house because I’m from a farming background and Wednesday on Netflix we absolutely loved, that's in the New Drama category along with Beyond Paradise, Blue Lights and Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story."

Very sadly,  we’ve lost some legends from the world of TV this past year including Paul O'Grady, Barry Humphries, Michael Parkinson and Len Goodman. Will there be some special tributes to them?

"Yes, there are plans afoot to honour them so it’s going to be emotional. Paul has also been nominated posthumously (For The Love Of Dogs). Unfortunately, I never met him but I was hosting This Morning on the day his death was announced which was such a shock. We spoke to lots of people who knew him well and he was clearly such a lovely man, so passionate and so kind."

Of course the NTAs are broadcast live. How do you cope with the nerves of hosting such a massive event?

"I don’t really suffer from pre-show nerves. I love all that fly by the seat of your pants stuff. The hardest part is  putting the script together, once that’s done you’re as prepared as you can be, you just have to let it go and enjoy it. I don’t like to have too many people around me before I go on stage, so long as I’ve got my script and Hannah, I’m fine!"

Joel Dommett hosting the National TV Awards 2023
Joel Dommett hosting the National TV Awards 2023

Talking of which, Hannah is going to be heavily pregnant this time. Is she going to brave the O2?

"We’re going to make a call on the day. If she comes we will definitely be bringing the essential hospital bag! I guess we could whizz down the Thames in a Clipper straight to the hospital if the baby starts coming at the O2 but fingers crossed things will go in the right order, NTAs first then the baby. I’m so excited about becoming a dad but a bit scared too!"

Have you had any tips or advice from any famous friends?

"Holly Willoughby said to me, ‘All you've got to do is love them.’ I think that’s lovely advice. And I’m going on Rob Beckett and Josh Widdecombe’s podcast, Parenting Hell. They’ll no doubt have some tips for me. The beauty of it is, Hannah and I don’t really know what we’re stepping into. You can get all the advice in the world, read all the books and then when it happens, it's a completely different experience."

You are usually so busy on TV, are you going to be taking some time off for dad duty?

"In the past I would have been out every night doing stand up so at least now I’m in a position where I can be around to hopefully be the best dad I can be. I feel like it's perfect timing. My work is spaced out evenly across the year with The Masked Singer, NTAs, Survivor and In With A Shout. Hannah’s family live fairly close and my mum and dad are a couple of hours away so there are some excited grandparents too who I’m sure will also be wanting to help!"

Who are you most excited about meeting at the NTAs?

"I’m fascinated to meet Piers Morgan. He’s an interesting guy and a very clever man and I’d love to meet Louis Theroux too. I love his documentaries. I enjoyed watching the one he did with (fellow comedian) Katherine Ryan. I don’t think I’d be interesting enough to be featured in one of his programmes. There wouldn’t be enough to fill a whole episode. It would have to be reduced to a small Tik Tok clip!"

Joel Dommett is hosting the National TV Awards 2023.
Joel Dommett is hosting the National TV Awards 2023.

When you’re on stage are you aware of all the famous TV faces in the audience?

"I just focus on Ant and Dec the whole time. I basically play the whole show to them because they’re great laughers and bless their hearts, they give me their full attention for the two and a half hours because they know just how it feels to host something like this. Understandably with drink involved, everyone can get a bit loud and raucous. The people I get most starstruck by are the soap stars. We’ve grown up watching them on telly so it’s disarming to see people are actual human beings and not their characters!"

Do you enjoy a bit of star-spangled mingling at the after-show party?

"I’m not really an after-party guy. Honestly, all I want to do after hosting is have a lie-down! A lot of people will come off stage after a big live event and want to continue that high so they’ll drink or take drugs. I’ve never been like that. Once I’m done I can’t wait to get home and go to bed. I never have an issue going straight to sleep. Sometimes I’ll even nap while I’m still on stage (laughing). My favourite part after any job is getting in the car to go home!"

Joel Dommett is hosting the National Television Awards which will be broadcast live on Tuesday, September 5 at 8pm on ITV1.