A report in The Mirror today (January 25) suggests that BBC insiders have criticised ITV for shifting Corrie to a 7pm slot on Wednesday, allowing the Weatherfield soap to air directly before the live NTAs broadcast at 7.30pm.
Voting for the 'Most Popular Serial Drama' category remained open throughout the live show, meaning that Coronation Street was fresh in viewers' memories in the final stages. Corrie - which has regularly topped the soap ratings in the past 12 months - took home the top prize on the night, beating BBC rival EastEnders.
Emmerdale usually transmits in Wednesday's 7pm slot on ITV, but its regular instalment was merged into an hour-long episode which aired the previous evening.
[William Roache (Ken Barlow) with Corrie's 'Serial Drama' prize]
A BBC insider told the newspaper: "It seems ITV will stop at nothing to win NTAs. The stars tweet reminding people to vote - then they put a big Corrie episode on moments before the show starts. It is such an obvious tactic and not the first time they have played unfairly when it comes to the NTAs."
However, an ITV source responded by saying: "These claims of a fix are just sour grapes. The best soap won and our ratings are better than EastEnders' too, averaging 9.2 million."
An official statement from ITV denied any ulterior motive for the scheduling change, insisting that viewers "expect" to see Corrie on Wednesdays.
[Corrie characters Kirsty, Tyrone and Fiz in Wednesday night's episode]
The network said: "Last year Coronation Street was broadcast on Monday, Thursday and Friday but in 2013, it is going out on a Wednesday. Viewers expect to see it midweek, which is why it was rescheduled to 7pm to make way for the NTAs."
Corrie actor Alan Halsall (Tyrone Dobbs) won the 'Serial Drama Performance' prize on the night, while EastEnders' David Witts (Joey Branning) was named 'Most Popular Newcomer'.
Watch Alan Halsall talking to Digital Spy at the National Television Awards below:
National Television Awards 2013 winners - photo gallery:
Copyright: PA Images Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire