The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2011
Here are the results of The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2011 - the TV and radio comedy awards decided entirely via a public vote, with every new programme that broadcast during the year (over 340 different shows in 2011, for the record!) nominated.
This year's results largely highlight how fragmented comedy has become: long gone are those shows that either everyone loved or everyone hated; instead now we find series that are highly targeted towards particular demographics and audience sectors, splitting the voters with some predictable - and surprising - results...
Best New British TV Sitcom 2011
We loved Sky's new family-friendly sitcom, and are delighted that our visitors do too. After years of playing solid but nevertheless second-fiddle roles in programmes from Saxondale to Green Wing and Whites to Kiss Me Kate, actor Darren Boyd was flung front and centre as the mild-mannered accidental MI5 recruit and single father Tim, and he delivered with aplomb. Channel 4's Friday Night Dinner and BBC One's Mrs. Brown's Boys also scored very highly in this category, but it was the lively, genuinely laugh-out-loud funny scripts from Simeon Goulden and a top-notch cast supporting Boyd that cemented Spy's position as the Best New TV Sitcom of 2011.
Worst New British TV Sitcom 2011
Mrs. Brown's Boys
Despite only narrowly missing out on the 'Best' title, popular hit of the year Mrs. Brown's Boys also polled a significant number of negative votes, earning it the unwanted label of Worst New TV Sitcom for 2011.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's Life's Too Short was a very close contender for this 'prize'; it certainly seemed to disappoint many contributors to our message board, particularly so after the heights of Extras and The Office.
Best Returning British TV Sitcom 2011
Following a break of nearly 7 years, Jennifer Saunders' riotous sitcom returned to screens this festive period. The Christmas special was suitably well received - and highly anticipated enough - to garner your votes to crown it the Best Returning TV Sitcom. An Olympics special is set to follow in the summer, and word from TV Centre has it that a whole new series and specials are likely, so will this win be repeated for 2012 or 13?
After a tricky few years, bosses at BBC One can sleep a little easier tonight, with the knowledge that fellow channel-mates Not Going Out and Outnumbered also did extremely well in this category. BBC Two's Rev wasn't far behind.
Worst Returning British TV Sitcom 2011
Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps
Having picked up the same not-so-coveted gong for its previous series in 2009, British Comedy Guide readers continued to voice their dislike for this BBC Three sitcom in 2011. Despite some key cast departures the show actually managed to increase its audience figures during Series 9 and wasn't received too badly by its fans, but those that voted for it in this category can rest easy with the knowledge that new BBC Three boss Zai Bennett has brought the show to an end.
Best British Radio Sitcom 2011
This sitcom set around the adventures of a tiny airline company has captured a large Radio 4 fan base since its premiere in 2008. Writer John Finnemore (left) mixes carefully planned plots and sharp dialogue with an array of utterly joyful characters to create a winning show. Fans will be pleased to hear it's coming back for another series, even though Benedict Cumberbatch has been catapulted to TV stardom as the new Sherlock Holmes. Someone at production company Pozzitive should crack open a bottle of bubbly to 2011, as their other sitcom - Another Case Of Milton Jones - was second in this category.
Best British TV Sketch Show 2011
The drought of sketch shows during 2011 has been widely commented upon, with Come Fly With Me the only big prime-time terrestrial TV sketch vehicle - and even that was somewhere between sitcom and satire, being as it was a mockumentary. However, one of the few sketch series that did broadcast has kept its high quality level for years: CBBC's Horrible Histories. Fellow childrens' show and now sadly cancelled Sorry, I've Got No Head came a close second place in the poll, proving that comedy fans are willing to seek out the best comedy, wherever it might be. A fourth series of Horrible Histories has already been recorded and will broadcast a little later in the year.
Worst British TV Sketch Show 2011
Lee Nelson's Well Good Show
Lee Nelson's Well Good Show is, according to our readers, anything but 'well good'. The series, which mixes studio games and audience interaction segments with pre-filmed sketches, gets fairly decent ratings and clearly knows its audience, but it seems that they just don't often vote in our awards.
Best British Radio Sketch Show 2011
John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme
A second win for John Finnemore, but perhaps not surprising as his sketch show - the first programme to go out in Radio 4's new Sunday night comedy slot - was a winning mix of clever skits and wonderful wordplay, and all done without repeating or beating ideas to death. There's no word yet of a second series or not, but here's hoping...
Best British TV Panel Show 2011
Would I Lie To You?
This BBC One panel show has been growing in popularity over the last couple of years, with Lee Mack and David Mitchell's playful arguments at the heart of many people's enjoyment of the programme. The opening episode of the 2011 series was hailed by many as the best yet - as host Rob Brydon and The Apprentice's Nick Hewer's antics with a 'cuddle jumper' reduced the studio and viewers at home to tears of laughter. However, this was another particularly fiercely fought category, with QI, HIGNFY and Shooting Stars also attracting many votes.
Worst British TV Panel Show 2011
Despite attracting record breaking audience figures in 2011, the ITV2 panel show fronted by Leigh Francis's comedy creation Keith Lemon failed to impress our voters. The series is doing wonders for its home channel though, so don't expect an end any time soon. Prime time Channel 4 hit Chris Moyles Quiz Night also scored rather highly for this somewhat dubious title.
Best British Radio Panel Show 2011
The Unbelievable Truth
It first appeared on the airwaves just 6 years ago, but David Mitchell's The Unbelievable Truth is fast looking like it could join the likes of ISIHAC, Just A Minute and The News Quiz as a Radio 4 signature programme. The format is simple: contestants must spot true facts amongst the lies told in pre-prepared lectures. Playing the game, however, is not...
Congratulations to David Mitchell and the production team for beating the more established panel show giants in the voting.
Best British TV Entertainment Show 2011
The Graham Norton Show
This category, which mixes the burgeoning TV genres of stand-up, comic chat shows and other satire, saw strong support for Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle and Harry Hill's TV Burp, but it was The Graham Norton Show that polled the most votes. Norton's chat show has been going from strength-to-strength since it confidently took over the Jonathan Ross slot, with the host expertly handling his guests and squeezing comic mileage out of all their stories.
Worst British TV Entertainment Show 2011
The Ricky Gervais Show
This animated TV series received the most negative votes in the TV entertainment category. As 2010's first series didn't annoy anyone, we can only speculate that the public are beginning to tire of Gervais's elephant ego and dismissive comments towards any British comedy he hasn't written; not to mention the hugely hyped shambles that was recent sitcom Life's Too Short. Has Reading's boy wonder finally lost his sparkle?
Best British Radio Entertainment Show 2011
French & Saunders
Long standing comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have been taking to Radio 2's airwaves since Boxing Day 2010 with a periodic series of holiday specials. The duo's natural charm and likeability have combined perfectly with the radio medium in this chat and entertainment show, as evidenced by their taking this title for Best British Radio Entertainment Show 2011.
Best British TV Comedy Drama 2011
This Channel 4 comedy drama may have been created and part-written by Peep Show creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, but it still surprised almost everyone with just how good it was. Jack Whitehall was a particular revelation - often written off as just 'another young comic' propelled above his station, Fresh Meat proved that he has genuine talent and really can act. It was a fine cast all round though, with Greg McHugh as the rather creepy Howard also a particular joy. The series will be back later this year.
BBC Four's Holy Flying Circus, the gloriously silly re-telling of the controversy surrounding Monty Python's Life Of Brian, also scored very well in this category. The seemingly never-ending juggernaut that is bleak comic-drama Shameless picks up the Worst TV Comedy Drama title.
Worst Comedy Of The Year 2011
Mrs. Brown's Boys
And so we come to the least coveted award of them all. Sitcom proves itself to be the passionate staple, the very core of British comedy once more, as the Worst New British TV Sitcom as voted by you, also picks up the gong for the worst comedy of any type on any medium in 2011: Mrs. Brown's Boys. It may be enjoying great DVD sales, high viewing figures and unprecedented requests for tickets to see the show recorded, but this particular sitcom also polarised opinion right from the off, being almost universally condemned within the comedy world, and hardly a favourite with the critics.
Comedy Of The Year 2011
Proving that you don't need to talk down to children, and that it's still possible to be a little silly and not crude yet still very funny, readers of The British Comedy Guide voted Horrible Histories as the single best comedy of 2011.
A winning mix of witty songs, educational sketches, dry dialogue and surprisingly dark yet child-friendly humour have made this sketch show a hit with parents, kids, students and comedy fans alike.
As sitcoms continue falling over themselves to be as 'realistic' as possible, and in a year when it got its own Prom at the BBC's prestigious Royal Albert Hall season, not to mention being treated to a prime-time highlights series hosted by none other than mainstream intellectual comedy supremo Stephen Fry, it's perhaps not all that surprising to see such an accolade handed out. How's that for a kids' show?
British Comedy Guide Editors' Award 2011
Each year we reserve one award to be given out to something, or someone, that we think deserves a little extra attention, a pat on the back, or perhaps just a reminder of their achievements.
This year, that award goes to satellite network Sky, for their commitment to creating and supporting British comedy during 2011. They've spent millions on the development of a raft of new shows, as the constant stream of commissions filling up our news section proves.
Okay, so sports panel show A League Of Their Own is a bit bloated, and no, not all of the new programmes have worked quite as well as they did on paper (Wall Of Fame, anyone?), but family sitcom Spy has been rewarded by the public, and the recent second series of Little Crackers was a festive highlight.
Many channels in the past, including Sky1 themselves, and even ITV1 today, have tried to do comedy and thrown their toys out of the pram as soon as they failed to get an instantaneous hit. The modern Sky however, is continuing to invest in and stick with shows, allowing them time to grow - from the experimental This Is Jinsy to the more mainstream likes of supermarket sitcom Trollied, for which 37 brand new episodes were ordered almost immediately. (Which other broadcaster would order another 37 episodes just like that?) We think it a good strategy as, after all, some of this country's most famous sitcoms took a few years to warm up.
It may be a controversial choice in some quarters, but at a time when many other channels appear to be floundering and struggling to even search for a hit, we want to commend Sky for their actions.
Thanks to everyone who cast their vote, and congratulations to all of the winners. Join us next January to have your say on the comedies broadcasting this year.
Angela Barnes talks about the comedy career ladder, Mock The Week, and having her GP on speed dial. Read
Michael McIntyre, Jimmy Carr and Peter Kay are top of a list of the UK's best known stand-ups. Read
Radio 4 has ordered a second series of new sketch show Trodd En Bratt Say 'Well Done You'. Read
Bernadette Byrne and Victor Victoria - aka EastEnd Cabaret - answer questions about each other. Read
The Women in Comedy Festival - 80+ shows across 16 Manchester venues - is on 11th to 26th October. Read
Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival have launched their 2015 Silver Comedy stand-up competition. Read
The political panel show podcast. Featuring guests including Paul Sinha, Suzi Ruffell and Mitch Benn. Listen
Harry Hill is to star in Professor Branestawm, a BBC One family comedy drama. Read
Jimmy Carr is to front the pilot episode of a UK re-make of hit American comedy format Drunk History. Read
Tom Edge, the creator of Channel 4's Scrotal Recall writes about the show. Plus interviews with the key cast. Read
Sarah Campbell talks about getting 'lizard brain' whilst filming undercover on ITV2's Bad Bridesmaid. Read
Interview. Rhod Gilbert talks about taking on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, plus his sitcom plans. Read
ITV is developing Good Vibrations, a TV comedy based on the book by the boss of Ann Summers. Read
Jason Manford is to host a new ITV comedy game show in which couples will fight to win a holiday. Read
Modern Toss are presenting an exhibition celebrating 10 years of 'unique cack-handed drawings'. Read
Ryan Sampson - aka Grumio from Plebs - talks about how Bulgaria doesn't understand bare bums. Read
London Hughes describes how she had to turn herself into a horrid diva for ITV2 show Bad Bridesmaid. Read
Musical comedy group Axis of Awesome talk about their UK tour, and their elaborate YouTube series. Read
In this video, double-act Cardinal Burns offer insight and tips on how to create a sketch show. Watch
The cast of The Job Lot talk about the second series of the sitcom set around a Job Centre. Read
Alex Horne and Greg Davies will star in Taskmaster, a new show for channel Dave in 2015. Read
Hit BBC Three satirical prank show The Revolution Will Be Televised returns to screens in October. Read
A newspaper report suggests Peter Kay will play the father in Danny Baker's Cradle To Grave. Read
The search for the next British comedy talent is underway. Do you have what it takes to win? Read
Dave Green has been named the winner of the Comedy Knights 2014 stand-up comedy competition. Read
Matt Berry's Channel 4 sitcom Toast Of London has won ae prestigious Rose d'Or TV award. Read
Alexander Armstrong, Kevin Eldon and Dave Lamb will voice the new series of Danger Mouse. Read
TV channel Dave has announced it has ordered Undercover, a new sitcom about a covert police officer. Read
Interviews with all the key cast members of The Job Lot, as Series 2 prepares to start on ITV2. Read
Jack Whitehall is to host Feeling Nuts, a one-off Channel 4 comedy show for testicular cancer. Read
Jon Richardson has asked his girlfriend - fellow stand-up Lucy Beaumont - to marry him. Read
A full series of Still Open All Hours is now filming with cameras rolling in Doncaster, & studio dates booked: Read
The cast of Bad Education talk about what looks set to be the final series of the hit school sitcom. Read
W1A, the sitcom which mocks the BBC's management culture, is to return for a second series in 2015. Read
Holly Burn talks about how her cover was almost blown whilst filming on ITV2 show Bad Bridesmaid. Read
Extract from eBay. A Scottish seller gets into an argument over whether his kilt is technically a skirt. Read
Ricky Gervais says his Channel 4 show Derek will end after a final special episode. Read
Stand-up John Cooper has launched a Kickstarter drive to fund a calendar of his stand-up comic strips. Read
Details have been released about More Fool Me, the candid new memoir book from Stephen Fry. Read
Acclaimed actor Sir Donald Sinden, star of Two's Company and Never The Twain, has died at the age of 90. Read
John Cleese is to tour the UK in a series of live shows themed around his autobiography. Read
Siblings, the sitcom starring Charlotte Ritchie and Tom Stourton, is to return for a 2nd series. Read
Video in which Rik Mayall talks about Crackanory and explains what makes a great storyteller. Watch
Here's a funny video from sketch act Cardinal Burns, who are getting ready to tour the country. Watch
A list of the comedy shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe that got the most top star ratings. Read
An interview with David Chapple, who has set a record by seeing over 300 different shows at the Fringe. Read
A blog from Anna Morris, one of the actors going undercover in in the new ITV2 show Bad Bridesmaid. Read
Michael Palin will narrate a revived series of classic animated series Clangers. Read
Mark Heap and Peter Serafinowicz are amongst those involved in Good Omens on Radio 4. Read
A new category to recognise the best online comedy videos is being added to The British Comedy Awards. Read
Frankie Boyle is to present a one-off comedy show on the iPlayer about the Scottish Referendum. Read
TV channel Gold has commissioned a 90 minute documentary film about Monty Python's live shows. Read
COFILMIC Comedy Film Festival has teamed up with Wildseed Studios to offer a £10,000 Award. Read
A look at the long established, sometimes turbulent, relationship between comedy and alcohol. Read
Newspaper reports suggest that Peter Kay is working on bringing Phoenix Nights back for live shows. Read
Thom Tuck talks Munnery, Bambi, expensive dross at the Fringe, piles of rubbish on BBC3, and more. Read
Bill Kerr, who played Tony Hancock's dim-witted Australian sidekick, has died at the age of 92. Read
David Walliams, Catherine Tate, Philip Glenister and Frances de la Tour talk about Big School Series 2. Read
Lord Alan B'Stard, First Marquess of Haltemprice, has died at the age of 58, it has been confirmed. Read