British Comedy Awards

British Comedy Awards

Infobox award
name = British Comedy Awards
current_awards =

imagesize = 168px
caption = British Comedy Awards 2006 Logo
description = Most popular in Television
presenter = ITV Network
location = The London Studios
country = UK
year =
website =
The British Comedy Awards is an annual awards ceremony in the United Kingdom celebrating notable comedians and entertainment performances of the previous year.


The awards were shown live on ITV in December from 1990 to 2006, after which the broadcast of the British Comedy Awards 2007 was suspended by ITV due to allegations of irregularities and deception in the awarding of the 2005 People's Choice Award and then ongoing related investigations about the 2007 British television phone-in scandal resulting in Ofcom's subsequently fining ITV a record £5.675 million for its misuse of premium-rate telephone lines.Cite news |author=Ben Dowell |url= |title=News: Media: Comedy Awards Firm Angry at ITV | |date=2007-10-22 |accessdate=2008-05-12] Cite news |author=Colin Robertson |url= |title=ITV Scam Comedy Awards Vote |work=The Sun |publisher="" |date=2007-07-26 |accessdate=2008-05-11] Cite news |author=OFCOM |title=Ofcom Fines ITV plc for Misconduct in Viewer Competitions and Voting |url= |work=OFCOM press release |publisher="" |date=2008-05-08 |accessdate=2008-05-13]

After Michael Parkinson presented the inaugural ceremony at the London Palladium in December 1990, subsequent shows have been presented by Jonathan Ross, staged at London Studios, and produced by Michael Hurll Television (MHTV), whose parent company is Unique Communications Group.Cite web |title=British Comedy Awards |url= |year=2008 |accessdate=2008-05-11] Cite web |title=Unique Media |url= |work=Unique Communications Group |publisher="" (About Us) |year=2008 |accessdate=2008-05-12] Cite news |author=Tim Cooper |title=The Man Who Has Kept Britain Laughing for Half a Century |url= |work=The Independent |publisher="" |date=2007-01-08 |accessdate=2008-05-13 |quote=He started the British Comedy Awards and gave Cilla Black 'the bollocking of her life'. As Michael Hurll marks his half-century in broadcasting, he tells Tim Cooper the secrets of keeping stars sweet.]

The 2007 show occurred on 6 December 2007, but was not televised due to the 2005 controversy and subsequent investigations.Cite news |author=Paul Revoir |title=Awards Uproar As Ross Makes Madeleine Joke and Fern Britton Calls Giant Bear 'Mohammed' |url= |work=Daily Mail |publisher="" (Showbiz News) |date=2007-12-06 |accessdate=2008-05-12] The next show is scheduled for December 2008. Compliance for the show is the responsibility of the ITV Compliance Unit of ITV Network Limited (consisting of members from ITV plc, SMG plc, UTV Media plc, and
Channel Television Ltd).Cite web |author=ITV plc |title=Responsible Programming |url= |work=ITV plc |publisher="" |accessdate=2008-05-12] Cite web |author=ITV plc |title=Responsibility in the Programme Lifecycle: Broadcast |url= |work=ITV plc |publisher="" |accessdate=2008-05-12] Cite web |author=ITV plc |title=Responsibility in the Programme Lifecycle: Post Broadcast |url= |work=ITV plc |publisher="" |accessdate=2008-05-12]


* Jonathan Ross' in-podium autocue monitor being ripped out by award-winner Michael Barrymore.cite news
last = Plunkett
first = John
title = British Comedy Awards courting Moore controversy
work = Media Guardian
publisher = The Guardian
date = 2004-11-16
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-15
quote = Infamous moments from past years include Julian Clary claiming to have indulged in a sex act with Norman Lamont in 1993, a drunken Caroline Aherne heckling Sir Nigel Hawthorne in 2000 and Spike Milligan referring to the Prince of Wales as a "grovelling little bastard" in 1994. Barrymore walked off with host Ross's autocue in 1995...

* At the 1992 ceremony the show was running three minutes ahead of schedule. Jonathan Ross then urged Paul Merton on stage who finished off the broadcast with a few jokes

* 1993: Award-presenter Julian Clary joked that he'd "just been fisting Norman Lamont" (the joke caused great controversy and nearly ended Clary's career. [ cite web
last = Jones
first = Ian
title = Fist of Fun
work = Off the Telly
month = August
year = 2001
publisher =
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-15
quote = Then Julian Clary arrives:Jonathan: Good to see you - how's it hanging?Julian: Oh, very well thank you. Very nice of you to recreate Hampstead Heath for me here [much mirth] . As a matter of fact, I've just been fisting Norman Lamont ... [explosion of laughter that goes on for half a minute] Jonathan: [visibly panicking] Let me ask you Julian ... [tails off] Julian: [almost inaudible] Talk about a red box ... [We see Richard and Judy in hysterics] Jonathan: [struggling] So. How did you jump to the front of the queue then?Julian: Just clawed my way through ...Jonathan: Are we still on?
* 1994: Spike Milligan called long-time fan Prince Charles a "grovelling little bastard" on hearing the Prince's tribute to him when he came to the podium to collect his Lifetime Achievement Award. cite web
title = BCA Top Ten Moments
work = British Comedy Awards
publisher = MHTV
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-15
* 2000: Nigel Hawthorne accepted a lifetime achievement award on behalf of Alan Bennett only to be greeted by a drunken Caroline Aherne yelling "Get on with it!" during his recount of Mr Bennett's statement. Hawthorne took it to heart, prompting the audience to cheer after his retort of "Would you like to come do this yourself madame?"

* 2000: Alan Partridge performing Don't Go Breaking My Heart with Elton John.

* Between 2001 and 2006 Ricky Gervais' acceptance speeches were always a popular part of the show

* In 2004 Jonathan Ross announced a surprise for award winner Matt Groening, which was a special praise of The Simpsons from Stephen Hawking

*Also in 2004 award presenter Johnny Vegas shattered the record for longest speech by going into one of his trademark rants which lasted over 10 minutes before finally announcing the nominations

* In 2006 the show caused controversy when a live snake was brought on stage and almost escaped into the audience

Past Winners

"For a complete list of winners from 1991-2007, see British Comedy Awards Winners".


Investigation of alleged irregularities and deception

At the 2005 British Comedy Awards show, the wrong show received the People's Choice Award.Cite web |url= |title=Past Winners: 2005 |work=People's Choice Awards at the British Comedy Awards |publisher="" (official site) |year=2005 |accessdate=2008-05-11] The award was "mistakenly given" to "Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway" even though "The Catherine Tate Show" received the most tabulated votes and should have been declared the winner, and Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (Ant & Dec) were asked to return their 2005 award.cite news |url=|title=Ant and Dec Return Comedy Prize |work=BBC News |publisher="" |date=2008-05-08 |accessdate=2008-05-11 |quote=Ant and Dec are reportedly appalled at the error over the prize [photo caption] . ... TV presenters Ant and Dec are to return a prize they were awarded at the 2005 British Comedy Awards after ITV revealed that they did not win. ... The Catherine Tate Show collected more votes for the People's Choice Awards, an independent report on the affair says. ... It is thought that presenter Robbie Williams had been given assurances that Ant and Dec were the winners. ... The deception emerged as media watchdog Ofcom fined ITV £5.68m over its use of premium rate phone lines. ... ITV gave details of the incident as part of a statement responding to the record fine.See|British Comedy Awards 2005#People's Choice Award]

Charged by the awards show with investigating the allegations of irregularities, the independent law firm Olswang summarized its findings as follows: "Robbie Williams was invited to present an award. It was understood that he would be happy [to do so] if the recipients were Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. In order to ensure his attendance, this assurance was given. But it could not be "definitively" established that Williams' involvement led to the wrong winner being announced" [italics added] .

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway received the People's Choice Award 2006 at the British Comedy Awards 2006.Cite web |title=People's Choice Award 2006 |url= |work=British Comedy Awards 2006 |publisher="" |year=2006 |accessdate=2008-05-11]

Phone-in scandal

Beginning on 26 July 2007, British tabloid newspapers reported the alleged involvement of the British Comedy Awards in the 2007 British television phone-in scandal. According to a report in the "The Sun", viewers telephoned a premium-rate number to vote for the People's Choice Award in the 2005 Awards during what was claimed to be a live broadcast; yet, at 22:30, the show went to a news broadcast, so that when the show returned, viewers thought it was still live, and thus still phoned the number, when the last half-hour was in fact a recording as the vote had already finished, rendering the call-in votes given during the recording pointless and a misuse of the callers' money.

ITV announced that they have postponed the British Comedy Awards 2007 due to the voting irregularities. In a statement, the company said: "Pending conclusion of the investigation, broadcast of the British Comedy Awards 2007 will be postponed. ... ITV will not make any further comment regarding this matter until the conclusion of the investigation."Cite news |url=,,30100-1285266,00.html |title=ITV Axes British Comedy Awards |work=Sky News |publisher="" |date=2007-09-21 |accessdate=2008-05-11 |quote=ITV is to drop the British Comedy Awards following the discovery of alleged phone vote irregularities in a previous show.] Cite news |url= |title=ITV Drops British Comedy Awards |work=BBC News |publisher="" |date=2007-09-21 |accessdate=2008-05-11 |quote=ITV will not screen this year's British Comedy Awards after reportedly finding irregularities with phone voting. ... The problem happened during the 2005 awards show, according to the broadcaster, which has called in law firm Olswang to investigate. ... ITV refused to give details and said it would not comment further until the investigation was concluded. ... But the ceremony is still set to go ahead in December and could be aired by another channel.]

It was announced on 21 September 2007 that the British Comedy Awards 2007 would not be screened by ITV1; however, it was not confirmed then that the Awards would still take place in December, and it was not ruled out that they could be screened by another channel. The 2007 awards did take place on 5 December 2007, but that show was not televised. In early May 2008 Ofcom announced its fining and sanctioning ITV plc in a press release.

On 15 August 2008, it was announced that a similar scandal could have been committed in the award ceremony in 2004 Awards. [cite news|last=Conlan|first=Tara|url=|title=ITV company faces fine over a second British Comedy Awards deception|publisher="The Guardian"|date=2008-08-15|accessdate=2008-08-15]

ee also

*If.comedy award


External links

* " [ British Comedy Awards] " – Official website hosted by Unique Communications Group, the parent company of British Comedy Awards producer Michael Hurll Television (MHTV); site provides annual lists of winners.

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