And the winners are...

Little Britain triumphs at awards

The Office has officially passed the comedy torch to Little Britain, after Matt Lucas and David Walliams picked up three British Comedy Awards.

The show was named best TV comedy, ahead of The Office's swangsong specials last Christmas.

It also overwhelmingly won an audience phone-in poll to win the People's Choice award, attracting of 41 per cent the votes over Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Green Wing.

And Matt Lucas and David Walliams shared the best comedy actor award ahead of Ricky Gervais at the televised awards on London’s South Bank last night.

Collecting the duo acting award, they thanked co-stars Tom Baker, who provides the distinctive voiceover, and Anthony Head, who plays the Prime Minister.

Earlier in the evening, host Jonathan Ross joked about the duo’s famous ‘only gay in the village’ catchphrase saying: “Some have speculated Matt Lucas is not the only gay in the double act.”

Despite the disappointment of not winning the highest-profile award, Gervais and co-writer Stephen Merchant won the writer of the year award

Playwright Tom Stoppard said: “This award looks to a writer who extends the territory of comedy, or the very idea of comedy."

Ant and Dec were double winners on the night - with best comedy entertainment show for Saturday Night Takeaway and best comedy entertainment personalities ahead of Have I Got News For You?, I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, Jonathan Ross and Paul Merton.

The Simpsons was named best international comedy show, ahead of Sex And The City and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Picking up his award, creator Matt Groening said: "I've never been surrounded by so many people I've never heard of telling jokes I don't understand.

Then he praised a sizeable list of British comedy shows, adding: "You'll all see your jokes on our show next season."

Groening was then presented with a special award by Professor Stephen Hawking, who was once a guest on the animated show. The sceientist said: "The Simpsons is the best show on American television, it is simply incredibly funny. On behalf of the people of Springfield it gives me great pleasure to present an outstanding contribution to comedy award to Matt Groening."

In return Groening presented Hawking with an action figure of himself from the show, complete with helicopter wheelchair.

Another outstanding achievement award went to Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

French was not able to pick up her award, so Saunders, receiving a standing ovation, joked: “[Dawn] admits she’s contributed very little to comedy."

Presenting the accolade, Lisa Tarbuck said: “They have inspired thousands of people, particularly women, in what can be a man’s world. Their contribution to British comedy has been truly outstanding.”

In other categories, Caroline Quentin was named best comedy actress ahead of Catherine Tate and Nighty Night's Julia Davis.

But both her fellow nominess collected other awards: Nighty Night took best new TV comedy ahead of Doc Martin and Life Begins, while Catherine Tate was named best comedy newcomer was ahead of Shameless star James McAvoy and The Mighty Boosh's Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding.

Doc Martin, which starred Martin Clunes, was named best comedy-drama. Also shortlisted were Channel 4's Shameless and BBC1's Jonathan Creek.

And Jack Black's School Of Rock was named best comedy film ahead of Shaun Of The Dead and Shrek 2.

>> British Comedy Award previous winners

Published: 22 Dec 2004

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