Graham picks up two comedy gongs

Graham Norton is today celebrating picking up two gongs at the British Comedy Awards.

Graham Norton is today celebrating picking up two gongs at the British Comedy Awards.

His hit chat show V Graham Norton was named Best Comedy Entertainment Programme while Graham was himself voted Best Comedy Entertainment Personality.

Ricky Gervais of The Office and Peter Kay of Phoenix Nights also both had reason to smile today after winning two awards apiece at the British Comedy Awards.

BBC2’s The Office won Best TV Comedy, beating off a challenge from Channel 4’s Phoenix Nights.

The show’s star Gervais, who plays cringeworthy boss David Brent, was crowned Best Comedy Actor.

But there was success too for Peter Kay, the star of Phoenix Nights who was also nominated for best actor, but who took the award for Writer of the Year.

The two shows had four nominations each but it was the spoof fly-on-the-wall documentary, in which Gervais runs The Office of a paper merchants in Slough, that took the early lead last night, with two awards to Phoenix Nights’s one.

But later, after a phone-in vote, Kay got even when Phoenix Nights was named the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

As well as beating The Office, the Channel 4 show triumphed over BBC1’s Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, ITV1’s Cold Feet and Five’s International King of Sports.

Gimme Gimme Gimme’s Kathy Burke won Best Comedy Actress, after a three-way contest with impressionist Ronni Ancona and Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley.

There were also awards for the shows V Graham Norton, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and The Kumars at No 42.

Veteran Python star and TV traveller Michael Palin was honoured with a lifetime achievement award and Graham Norton also triumphed in the Entertainment Personality category.

Jonathan Ross hosted the awards, now in their 12th year, at the LWT headquarters on London’s Southbank.

Broadcast live on ITV1, the event is one of the livelier nights on the showbiz awards circuit.

Infamous moments from the past few years include Julian Clary claiming to have indulged in a sex act with Norman Lamont, a drunken Caroline Aherne heckling Sir Nigel Hawthorne, and Spike Milligan referring to the Prince of Wales as a “grovelling little bastard”.

Celebrities who presented the awards included Johnny Vegas, Melinda Messenger, Rio Ferdinand and Roger Moore.

The ex-Have I Got News for You? presenter Angus Deayton took the microphone to present the awards, and also took his chance to poke fun at his former employers.

“It’s very nice to be back – on ITV,” the ex-BBC man told the audience of some of the nation’s favourite comedians, who included Eddie Izzard, Graham Norton, and One Foot in the Grave star Richard Wilson.

Gervais, the evening’s biggest winner, declined to talk to reporters after collecting his two awards.

Phoenix Nights’ star, Peter Kay, could not be at the glittering ceremony to accept his award in person as he was on tour.

But afterwards the show’s producers spoke of their delight at receiving the public vote of appreciation.

Co-writer Neil Fitzmaurice said it was an honour to receive an award voted by the public.

“It’s amazing,” he told reporters after the ceremony.

“A public vote is very special because there are a lot of politics behind awards ceremonies and there are different reasons why different shows win awards.

“To win one from a phone vote may be purer than the others,” he said.

Burke peppered her acceptance speech with expletives.

The star said how pleased she was her show won an honour, because “it’s won f*** all, Gimme Gimme”.

The winners were:

:: Best Comedy Actor: Ricky Gervais – The Office

:: Best Comedy Actress: Kathy Burke – Gimme Gimme Gimme

:: Best Comedy Entertainment Personality: Graham Norton (V Graham Norton)

:: Best Comedy Newcomer: Kris Marshall (My Family)

:: Best New TV Comedy: The Kumars at No 42

:: Best TV Comedy: The Office

:: Best Comedy Drama: Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

:: Best Comedy Entertainment Programme: V Graham Norton

:: Best International Comedy Show: Six Feet Under

:: Best Comedy Film: Bend It Like Beckham

:: Writer Of The Year: Peter Kay

:: Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael Palin.

:: The People’s Choice Awards – Phoenix Nights

:: Writer Of The Year (Voted by WGGB) Peter Kay

:: Lifetime Achievement Award Michael Palin.

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