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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Ed Chamberlin: ITV Racing Bafta success a great result for the sport

Ed Chamberlin: surprised but delighted at ITV Racing winning the Bafta
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Following ITV Racing's Bafta success on Sunday, lead presenter Ed Chamberlin expresses his delight

If I'm brutally honest, I didn't expect to win. I really didn't. I thought we were probably the outsider of four as the Klitschko Joshua fight had already won awards and was probably favourite, while women's football is very topical, and the Six Nations is huge.

For racing to be competing on that stage and winning has got to be great for the sport. That's the overriding hope from the awards.

Fair play to ITV. I think we had more people on stage than for any other award, even the soaps, because ITV bought a second table as they wanted everyone to be there. There were 18 of us in total.

Unfortunately Alice Plunkett and Brian Gleeson couldn't make it in front of the camera, but AP, Fitzy and all the rest were there, and it was lovely that Paul McNamara was able to recognise in his acceptance speech the 200 people involved in the production of the [2017] Grand National show.

It's a monster and everyone played their part. The award is for every one of them really.

Chamberlin and co ecstatic after ITV Racing scoops a Bafta

It was a long evening. We all met up at about 4.30 for a strengthening drink, then there's the red carpet, which is a lot of fun – walking alongside Alesha Dixon and Michelle Keegan and thinking racing presenters don't normally get to do this stuff – and then there's the champagne reception, where Brough Scott was on great form, telling lots of good stories.

We were chatting to people from Love Island ('reality and constructed factual' category winner), and Kate Adie (later presented with the Bafta fellowship) was there – it's amazing how many of these people like racing.

The awards started at about half past six, and we were on early. We were about award four. I was sitting next to McCoy and we both said we didn't fancy our chances. Then the winner was read out and up we all got.

What a buzz! It was sensational. I don't mind admitting there had been times when I had doubted myself and whether I was doing it right, because in these days when social media is so powerful and so prevalent you do have to listen to a lot of attention-seeking criticism. To get that endorsement, and to know ITV's commitment to racing is now stronger than ever, was unbelievable.

It was just a great night, and the award given to Rio (Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, BBC One) was especially emotional, with his speech about bringing up his three kids on his own particularly moving.

We mingled with all those guys at the after-party – Rio, Michelle Keegan, Declan Donnelly – and the production team had the time of their lives. Dec loves his racing, and he made a point of congratulating the team, so we all had fun with his Bafta and our Bafta. It was utterly surreal.

ITV Racing anchor Chamberlin hails Grand National coverage

Our viewing figures are up across the board, with the one exception I suppose of the this year's Grand National, and we are increasing our commitments, with the Craven meeting, Sandown's evening meeting and so on. And now we've won a Bafta so it feels as if we are in really good shape at ITV with the racing.

It's very satisfying, and from a personal point of view I'm especially grateful to Niall Sloane and Mark Demuth, who put a lot of faith in me when they came and got me from Premier League football at Sky. The Grand National was just our 20th show on air, so it was quite a leap of faith for them to put in me.

I'm loving this job, and ITV's commitment to racing means the world to me as I'm fully committed to it myself.
Ed Chamberlin was talking to Graham Dench

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For racing to be competing on that stage and winning has got to be great for the sport
E.W. Terms
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