Peep Show has been named the best television comedy of 2007 at the prestigious British Comedy Awards ceremony which took place this evening. This makes it the second year in a row that the Channel 4 sitcom has won the top prize.
It was a particularly good night for Peep Show star David Mitchell as he beat of tough competition from the likes of Jack Dee, Kevin Bishop and Lee Mack to pick up a prize for Best Television Comedy Actor. [If you're a fan of Mitchell and Webb see our competitions - at the time of writing we have two giveaways featuring the duo]
Meanwhile Liz Smith received a standing ovation when she went on stage to collect the Best Television Comedy Actress award for her role in The Royle Family: The Queen of Sheba.
Despite being beaten to the Best Television Comedy award by Peep Show, new BBC3 sitcom Gavin and Stacey still managed to do a fairly good job of converting its seven nominations into wins – the show picked up the award for Best New British Television Comedy, and its writers James Corden and Ruth Jones were awarded best male and female newcomer respectively.
It was also a good night for Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the BBC2 music panel show beat Harry Hill's TV Burp and The Friday Night Project to be named Best Comedy Entertainment Programme whilst its host, who is widely acknowledged to have rejuvenated the show since taking over from Mark Lamarr, was named Best Comedy Entertainment Personality.
Elsewhere in the evening, Simon Pegg was awarded the Ronnie Barker writing award, and comedy legend Stephen Fry was given a lifetime achievement award. Fry, who accepted the honour from America via a video link, said he was "too thrilled" to say anything amusing.
The full list of nominations and results can be seen at the bottom of this story.
As usual, a few of the judges' choices could be described as 'interesting' – most notably handing Ruth Jones, a comedy veteran who has previously appeared in shows like Nighty Night and Little Britain, the newcomer award; choosing The Simpsons film over British comedies Hot Fuzz and Borat; and giving the writers award to Simon Pegg but not including his regular co-writers. On accepting the award the star of Spaced did make mention to this, he said: "I feel slightly fraudulent as I've got here on the shoulders of Jessica Stevenson, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost."
Philip Glenister, Gillian Anderson, Jimmy Carr, Bill Bailey, JK Rowling, Lily Allen, Stephen Mangan, former BBC1 Controller Peter Fincham and I'm A Celebrity winner Christopher Biggins were amongst those handing out the awards this year. Fincham, who commissioned a number of new BBC1 sitcom during his tenure (including Not Going Out and After You've Gone), also received a standing ovation from the audience.
Despite the fact the awards were not shown live on TV for the first time since their inception 18 years ago (full story), the ceremony at London Television Centre was still a packed and lively affair.
Host Jonathan Ross, famed for his ruthless and risqué opening monologues, was on top form as usual. This year he cracked jokes at the expense of the likes of The Peter Serafinowicz Show and Tittybangbang and characteristically ventured into dangerous ground at times, at one point he referred to the Portuguese police's investigation into the disappearance of Madeline McCann and also made a joke about Chris Langham.
During the evening the host also hit out at ITV bosses for not showing the British Comedy Awards live on television. He called them "fools and thieves" for not showing the ceremony live and added "if you're watching at home, it's only because someone has recorded it on their phone and put it on YouTube." He added that the show's organisers were "more nervous than the teddies at the Sudanese branch of Hamleys" and told the audience ITV had cancelled the TV People's Choice vote because they "believe people are scum and don't care what they think".
According to reports, ITV paid £700,000 to stop rivals from showing the ceremony in their place. However the good news for fans is that, according to rumours, the network is now considering showing a recording of the ceremony at a later date after all.
Best new comedy entertainment programme
Al Murray's Happy Hour
The Graham Norton Show
Best television comedy actor
David Mitchell for Peep Show
Jack Dee for Lead Balloon
Kevin Bishop for Star Stories
Lee Mack for Not Going Out
Best television comedy actress
Catherine Tate for The Catherine Tate Show
Liz Smith for The Royle Family: The Q