The pair – who were making their first public appearance since Ant McPartlin announced his separation from his wife – also won the inaugural Bruce Forsyth entertainment award in memory of the showbiz all-rounder who died last year.
McPartlin said winning “really means a lot” after a year in which he underwent treatment for depression, and alcohol and substance abuse.
“It’s been a tough year for me personally, quite an emotional night, so to kind of top it off with three awards has been ... can I have a lie down now?”
He added: “I had a very tough summer last summer, I had to face up to a lot of things and my one thing was just getting back to work with my best mate.”
Their work on I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! was the first win of the night with the pair almost missing their moment after being caught in traffic.
Photos from the red carpet showed them dashing into the ceremony where their Saturday Night Takeaway show was handed the first Bruce Forsyth entertainment prize, ahead of The Graham Norton Show, All Round to Mrs Brown’s and Celebrity Juice.
McPartlin said it felt apt to pick up the award as they had just begun filming a tribute to Forsyth. Donnelly said they were “thrilled and proud and honoured” to collect the award on the same stage where they had performed alongside him at the opening of a previous NTAs.
Forsyth was remembered by his former Strictly Come Dancing co-host Tess Daly as the dancing competition won the prize for best talent show. “I’d like to dedicate this award to my friend and yours, the one and only Sir Bruce Forsyth. And I would like to say thank you for the memories,” she said.
Other winners on Tuesday night included Paul O’Grady, who received a special recognition award for his ITV show, For the Love of Dogs, and the Sir David Attenborough-narrated Blue Planet II, which received the impact award.
Accepting the award, Attenborough urged the audience at London’s O2 Arena to “protect our beautiful world”. Acknowledging his camera operators, he said: “These are the people who should be holding this but I know they would be joining me in what we were all trying to do was raise an issue which is of great importance not only to this country but worldwide.
“It’s what we are doing to our planet. If our television programmes have helped stir the consciences of people around the world and that we are to do something to protect our beautiful world then all of us would be very pleased.”
Broadchurch beat competition from Line Of Duty, Sherlock and Little Boy Blue in the crime drama category, with one of the show’s stars, Jodie Whittaker, the new Doctor Who, dedicating the win to survivors of sexual assault.
Suranne Jones, who won best drama performance for her role in Doctor Foster, which won best drama, wore a tuxedo with a badge on her lapel reading 50:50. Made by the organisation Equal Representation for Actresses, it calls for an equal gender balance across theatres, film and TV by 2020. Supporters include Claire Foy and Emma Thompson.
Emmerdale beat Hollyoaks, EastEnders and Coronation Street to win the serial drama prize, while the soap’s Danny Walters took home the best newcomer prize.
Coronation Street’s Lucy Fallon claimed the serial drama performance while Peter Kay’s Car Share won the comedy show award.
Kay announced in December that he had to cancel his first live tour in eight years due to “unforeseen family circumstances”.
His co-star, Sian Gibson, said: “Obviously I have got to say thank you so much to Mr Peter Kay. He is gutted he can’t be here tonight but he sends his love and he is going to be over the moon so we’re going to go and phone him.”
The NTAs are voted for by the public and have been running since 1995.
Full list of winners
Challenge show I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!
Factual entertainment Gogglebox
Serial drama performance Lucy Fallon
TV judge David Walliams
Drama performance Suranne Jones
Bruce Forsyth entertainment award Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
Crime drama Broadchurch
Impact award Blue Planet
Daytime This Morning
Newcomer Danny Walters
TV presenter Ant and Dec
Comedy show Peter Kay’s Car Share
Special recognition Paul O’Grady
Drama programme Doctor Foster
Talent show Strictly Come Dancing
Serial drama Emmerdale