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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005, 08:00 GMT 09:00 UK
Doctor Who stars up for TV awards
Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston
Piper and Eccleston starred in the first Doctor Who series for 16 years
Doctor Who stars Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper are in the running for best actor and actress honours at this year's National Television Awards.

Both actors feature in a long list that will be whittled down by a public vote ahead of the ceremony in October.

Other contenders include Emmerdale's Patsy Kensit, EastEnders' Shane Richie and Footballers' Wives star Zoe Lucker.

Pundits such as Sir Alan Sugar and Simon Cowell will have their own award this year - best expert on TV.

Soap rivals

Eccleston, who took the lead role in the first Doctor Who series for 16 years, will compete against EastEnders actor Shane Richie and Coronation Street's Bradley Walsh among others.

Piper - who played the Doctor's sidekick Rose - will compete against Zoe Lucker from Footballers' Wives, Patsy Kensit from Emmerdale, EastEnders star Jessie Wallace and Coronation Street's Kate Ford in the battle for best actress.

Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Home And Away are in the running for the most popular soap award.

And in the reality TV category, past nominees Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here face competition from The Apprentice.

Vernon Kay and his wife Tess Daly will compete against one another in the most popular entertainment presenter category, alongside Jonathan Ross, Ant and Dec, Davina McCall, Kelly Brook and others.

Last year's National TV Awards were dominated by Coronation Street, which took three prizes - with none for rival soap EastEnders.

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