ITV postpones broadcast of 2007 British Comedy Awards

Friday, September 21, 2007

ITV is to postpone broadcast of the 2007 British Comedy Awards, after it was discovered to have been involved in Britain's recent phone-in scandals.

In July this year, a scandal was uncovered about the 2005 awards. Viewers were encouraged to phone a premium-rate phone line to vote for the People's Choice Award (which was won by Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway). At 22:30, the coverage of the ceremony was stopped whilst ITV1 broadcast the news, and returned at 23:00. However, the ceremony kept going whilst the news was being delivered. When it returned, the viewers watch what was assumed to be a live broadcast, and kept on voting, when in fact the ceremony was over and the People's Choice Award had been given. As a result, all votes given after this time were pointless and the money spent by viewers was wasted.

In a statement, ITV said, "ITV have today asked media law firm Olswang to conduct an investigation into an issue that has arisen in respect of the British Comedy Awards 2005. Pending conclusion of the investigation, broadcast of the British Comedy Awards 2007 will be postponed. ITV will not make any further comment regarding this matter until the conclusion of the investigation." Meanwhile, Olswang are also investigating another ITV programme, Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell, where ITV wrongly claimed that it showed the dying moments of man suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The British Comedy Awards have been broadcast on ITV since their creation in 1990. Notable television moments to have come from the show have included camp comedian Julian Clary claiming he has been fisting conservative Member of Parliament Norman Lamont and Goon Show creator Spike Milligan calling fan Prince Charles a, "grovelling little bastard".

Other than the British Comedy Awards, British comedy is also awarded in the BAFTAs, the if.comedy award (formally the Perrier Comedy Award), the Chortle Student Comedy Awards and the British Sitcom Guide Awards. The British Comedy Awards themselves were parodied by a Chris Morris fansite "Cook'd and Bomb'd" in 2005, with the Comedy Tumbleweed Awards, which dishonour the worst of British comedy.