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10/12/2008 04:02:00 am - Reported by Anthony Weight

The shortlists for the categories at this year's National Television Awards - the annual public-voted poll for the most popular programmes and performers on British television, run by the ITV network - have been unveiled, with Doctor Who once again well represented.

The programme itself is nominated in the Most Popular Drama category, which it won in 2005, 2006 and 2007. This year it faces competition from ITV1's The Bill, Channel 4's Shameless and American import Desperate Housewives.

At the past three awards ceremonies, the actor and actress who played the Doctor and his main companion in each series of Doctor Who have been nominated as Most Popular Actor and Most Popular Actress respectively. Christopher Eccleston won the former category in 2005, and David Tennanttook the award in 2006 and 2007, with Billie Pipernamed Most Popular Actress in 2005 and 2006. However, as BBC News reports, in a controversial change for this year's ceremony, the Most Popular Actor and Actress categories have been scrapped in favour of a combined "Outstanding Drama Performance" category.

Tennant and co-star Catherine Tate will both compete for this single award, with Philip Glenister (BBC One's Ashes to Ashes) and Alex Walkinshaw (The Bill) also nominated.

Votes can be cast online at the National Television Awards website here. The ceremony will be held at the Royal Albert Hall in London on October 29th, and broadcast live on ITV1 in the UK.