Comedy.co.uk Awards 2011 results
CBBC sketch show Horrible Histories was one of the big winners of our 2011 awards. The results in this year 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 TV Sitcom: Spy
We loved Sky's 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.
Best Returning TV Sitcom: Absolutely Fabulous
Following a break of nearly 7 years, Jennifer Saunders' riotous sitcom returned to screens in the 2011 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.
After a tricky few years, bosses at BBC One could sleep a little easier 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.
Best Radio Sitcom: Cabin Pressure
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 mixes carefully planned plots and sharp dialogue with an array of utterly joyful characters to create a winning show.
Best TV Sketch Show: Horrible Histories
The drought of sketch shows during 2011 has been widely commented upon, with Come Fly with Me the only big primetime 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.
Best Radio Sketch Show: 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.
Best TV Panel Show: 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.
Best Radio Panel Show: 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 TV Entertainment Show: 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.
Best TV Comedy Drama: Fresh Meat
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.
Comedy Of The Year: Horrible Histories
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 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 primetime 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?