The National Television Awards aired last night (9 September), a night of happiness, celebration and tribute for those who produce, direct and star in television productions.
Among those who won an award for their contribution to television, Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway won an award for her documentary, Finding Derek.
The documentary was highly acclaimed for its emotional insight into her husband’s recovery from Covid, how the illness affected her family and the long recovery process for those who survived the illness but were impacted significantly by it.
So, what did Garraway say as she accepted her award, what other documentaries were nominated for the category - and what is Finding Derek about?
What is Finding Derek about?
Finding Derek is a documentary produced in 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. It is fronted by GMB presenter and Smooth radio host Kate Garraway and tells the story of her family as her husband, Derek Draper, battles the repercussions of Covid.
The 54 year old allowed cameras into her last year, as she attempted to juggle the tragic illness which had overtaken Derek’s body, while raising their two children - Darcey and William, and working as a broadcaster.
Derek was struck down with coronavirus at the very beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, and was treated in ICU.
While he did eventually overcome coronavirus, his body had already begun to shut down and he had slipped into a coma. In the months following, his kidneys failed, his liver and lungs were left damaged and his heart and pancreas were malfunctioning.
Speaking about her husband back in July 2020, Garraway said: “Derek is the sickest person the team of doctors in the lung hospital have treated, who has lived. His kidneys have failed, his liver’s failed. His heart is being supported by medicine.”
He is thought to be the UK’s longest surviving coronavirus inpatient, spending over a year in hospital.
Derek is now home with his family, but still requires around the clock care.
What did Garraway say upon winning her award?
Garraway received a standing ovation as she rose to her feet, her head in her hands, and accepted the award for Best Authored Documentary.
At first, she admitted she was lost for words and one of the documentary’s production team spoke a few words.
Then, Garraway thanked ITV for giving her the opportunity to tell her story, admitting Derek’s health was touch-and-go so no one really knew what the outcome would be.
“Thank you so much, it was a hugely brave decision by ITV to commission this. They didn’t really know exactly what they were making, they didn’t know they were making a story about bereavement or triumph,” she said, adding: “When Lucy (Wilcox, Director of the documentary) turned up at my house, she didn’t know if it would be about a family grieving or relief, and in the end, it ended up being something between the two.”
She went on to thank the public for their votes and paid tribute to Derek, her husband of 16 years.
Garraway said: “Thank you so much for voting. I wonder if the reason you did it is because our story is your story.
“We’ve all been touched by the pandemic. Whether it’s livelihood, mental health, or 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 Darcey's and Billy's 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.
She finished with touching words in tribute to her husband, who she revealed on This Morning earlier that day was recovering “painfully slowly” ad still “tough.”
“He should have the chance to tell his story, Derek, you are going to get the chance. Believe. The hope is real,” she finished.
Who else was nominated for the Authored Documentary award?
The nominees for the category this year were all incredibly important and moving, mainly focusing on mental and physical health and support.
Also in the category was:
Katie Price: Harvey and Me - a documentary about Price’s eldest son’s transition into semi-independent living while managing various health conditions such as Autism and Prader-Willi syndrome
Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency - a BBC documentary following the radio host and presenter as he tells the story of his friend who took his own life, as well as meeting with other young men and families impacted by the suicide of young men.
Rob Burrow: My Year with MND - This documentary follows Rob Burrow as he shows the same spirit in his fight against motor neurone disease as made him a hugely admired rugby league star
Marcus Rashford: Feeding Britain’s Children - a documentary about footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals. The England forward shared his experience of growing up in a working class family.