ITV has announced they will not be broadcasting the 2007 British Comedy Awards, after it was discovered earlier in the year that the programme was part of the phone-in scandals currently rocking the TV industry.
In July, it was revealed by The Sun newspaper that there were problems with the voting in the 2005 ceremony. Viewers rang a premium-rate phone line to vote for the People's Choice award, believing the show was a live broadcast. However, when the televised ceremony cut to a news broadcast the ceremony continued regardless. When the news ended and ITV started to broadcast the recorded coverage viewers were still invited to continue voting - despite the fact Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway had already been named the winner at the ceremony.
ITV has called in law firm Olswang to conduct an investigation into what happened. The broadcaster has refused to comment further until the investigation has concluded.
According to reports this years event will still go ahead in December as planned hosted, as always, by Jonathan Ross. Production company Michael Hurll Television is said to be looking to secure another broadcaster for the event if ITV do indeed stick to their decision.
The British Comedy Awards have been broadcast on ITV, later ITV1, since their creation in 1990. Over the last 17 years they have grown to become one of the most highly sought after honours in the British comedy industry. The ceremony has always brought ITV a large audience share thanks to Jonathan Ross' funny opening monologues and the often un-predictable happenings.
The comedy awards have seen several memorable moments over the years, from Julian Clary claiming he had been fisting Norman Lamont, to Spike Milligan calling Goon Show fan Prince Charles a "grovelling little bastard". At the 2006 awards a snake nearly escaped, video below...
In 2005, Chris Morris fansite Cook'd and Bomb'd created a parody, the Comedy Tumbleweed Awards, dishonouring what it considers to be the worst comedians in Britain. Other comedy awards include the BAFTA award for comedy, the IF.Comedy Awards (previously known as the Perrier Comedy Award) and the Chortle Student Comedy Awards.
In 2006 The British Sitcom Guide trialed out its own awards, allowing visitors to this website to pick out the winners via a poll (results). Deemed a success, the idea will be developed and expanded further this winter on the soon-to-be-launched comedy.org.uk.