The National Television Awards scooped five million viewers – up on last year – as fans tuned in to see whether Ant and Dec would secure yet another trophy.
The duo won their 18th consecutive gong at the ceremony, voted for by viewers, despite Ant McPartlin having been off-screen for much of the time.
A peak of 5.9 million viewers and an average of five million tuned into the show, on ITV, which also saw Richard Madden and Danny Dyer decorated with awards.
Although Danny's appearance may also have landed the show in hot water...
Thank you doesn’t seem to cover it this year. We are humbled and honoured. We are so appreciative of your continued support and good wishes, they are never taken for granted. Thank u again. Now back to #BGT auditions! D x #NTAs pic.twitter.com/rCzle3FmuM
— antanddec (@antanddec) January 22, 2019
The ceremony was up around 400,000 on last year’s event, which attracted 4.6 million viewers.
But it was still down on 2017, which secured an average of 5.4 million.
Ant and Dec saw off competition from Bradley Walsh, Graham Norton, Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield to claim best presenter.
An emotional and "shaking" Ant, speaking from the set of Britain’s Got Talent, hugged his presenting partner after the "genuine shock, especially this year" of winning.
We will assess these complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate.
"I really don’t think that I can accept this award this year," the star, who stepped away from TV duties following his arrest for drink-driving, told fans.
Showering his presenting partner with praise, he said: "The one reason we won the award this year is because of this guy – his hard work, dedication, wit, funniness."
Dec used the opportunity to tease Dermot O’Leary on TV, after the host of the TV awards ceremony had told the Press Association that if the duo "win it, having not been on television, we may as well just chuck in the towel"!