Celebrities and sports personalities including Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson were pictured arriving at the socially-distanced awards night in Salford, Greater Manchester.
After winning his seventh Formula 1 world championship, Lewis Hamilton is favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year.
Others in contention include boxer Tyson Fury, cricketer Stuart Broad and jockey Holley Doyle.
Snooker ace Ronnie O’Sullivan and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson complete this year’s line-up.
Lewis Hamilton is favourite to win this year’s Sports Personality of the Year award at a socially-distanced ceremony in Salford
Tyson Fury failed to appear on the show after demanding he be removed from this year’s list, saying he was the ‘people’s champion’.
Gabby Logan told viewers: ‘As you may have heard, Tyson has asked that people do not vote for him.
‘He’s decided not to engage with the show or accept any award and that is Tyson’s choice.’
Gary Lineker said Fury was chosen as a finalist ‘on the strength of his sporting achievements in 2020’.
After introducing this year’s ceremony, Captain Tom Moore, 100, who raised millions for the NHS in the early months of the pandemic has given his name to a new prize.
The Captain Tom: Young Unsung Hero award will see the Second World War veteran honour a youngster for their contribution to community sport.
Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill handed the award to nine-year-old Tobias Weller, who has cerebral palsy and autism, after he walked at least 50 metres every day on his street, raising more than £150,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Paces School
Captain Tom told the youngster: ‘You’re a marvellous young man, this is a great honour that you’re getting and congratulations I’m absolutely thrilled.’
Tobias said it was ‘awesome,’ to meet Captain Tom, saying he was ‘inspirational’.
Nine-year-old Tobias Weller became the first ever winner of the The Captain Tom: Young Unsung Hero after raising thousands of pounds for two charities by walking outside his home during lockdown. Captain Tom Moore described Tobias as a ‘marvellous young man’
Gary Lineker is presenting tonight’s ceremony alongside Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and former England defender Alex Scott
There was an awkward start to proceedings as Gary Lineker (left) and Gabby Logan were forced to explain why Tyson Fury was not appearing for an interview, saying he ‘decided not to engage’ with producers. Clare Balding (right) is presenting awards alongside Alex Scott
Diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, 16, was presented with the Young Sports Personality of the Year award on Blue Peter 10 days ago.
Speaking at tonight’s ceremony, the youngster, who has dreams of competing at the Olympics for Team GB, said: ‘It’s so wonderful to think such amazing sporting legends have won it and I’m following in their footsteps.’
Voting for this year’s winner is set to open later tonight, with the ceremony lasting until 10pm.
This year’s ceremony is being presented in front of a virtual crowd, while Rick Astley and Celeste are set to perform.
Manchester United star Marcus Rashford will be presented with a special award for his campaigning this year to help hungry children from poor backgrounds receive free school meals.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson took the opportunity to praise Rashford’s efforts while speaking to Gabby and Gary.
He said: ‘To use your platform to help for the better is really important, Marcus Rashford’s a perfect example I think what he’s doing is incredible. The more people like him the better.’
Singer Celeste opened this year’s ceremony and will perform Nat King Cole’s Smile later in the show, which will last until 10pm
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is among seven finalist for the SPOTY award after captaining his side to Premier League glory earlier this year
Eighties icon Rick Astley will be performing to a virtual crowd during this year’s ceremony, which will also see a new award handed out – The Captain Tom: Young Unsung Hero
The World Sports Star of the Year has already been announced, with UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, receiving the title after retiring following an undefeated career.
Former Arsenal and England right back Alex Scott presenting this year’s awards alongside Clare Balding, Gary Lineker and Gabby Logan
BBC journalist Sally Hughes arrived at this year’s SPOTY awards in Salford, voting for this year’s winner is set to open later tonight
Actor and poet Deanna Rodger was among the personalities to attend this year’s ceremony, which has been organised to comply with social distancing measures