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EDITIONS
 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 11:31 GMT
Gervais crowned 'king of comedy'
Ricky Gervais in The Office
Ricky Gervais in his "legendary dance sequence"
Ricky Gervais, who created and starred in hit sitcom The Office, has been named the most powerful person in UK television comedy.

Gervais, who became a household name by playing The Office's manager David Brent, is credited in the Radio Times list for his "legendary" and "peerless" work.

TOP FIVE IN TV COMEDY
Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge
1. Ricky Gervais
2. Steve Coogan (above)
3. Graham Norton
4= Lorraine Heggessey
4= Jane Root
Source: Radio Times
Alan Partridge star Steve Coogan is at number two, while Channel 4's entertainment lynchpin Graham Norton is third.

But there is no room in the top 50 for many of comedy's more recent big names, including Rowan Atkinson, Billy Connolly and Ben Elton.

The Radio Times canvassed comedy experts, and considered their views alongside viewing figures, critics' reviews, financial information and track records to compile the list.

"Ricky Gervais owned TV comedy in 2002," the Radio Times said.

Gervais and his writing and directing partner Stephen Merchant became "the most potent duo in television", it added.

The Office won two top prizes at the Bafta TV Awards in April, and Gervais was named best comedy actor at the British Comedy Awards in December.

Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder the Third
There was no place for Rowan Atkinson
Steve Coogan earned his second place for a new series of Alan Partridge and his production company, Baby Cow, which made Marion and Geoff, Human Remains and the Sketch Show.

"He's on a bigger comic roll than Bernard Manning's midriff," the Radio Times wrote.

Following Graham Norton are BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey and her BBC Two counterpart Jane Root in joint fourth place.

The Fast Show star Paul Whitehouse is seventh, while the man behind Ali G, Sacha Baron Cohen, who is about to attempt to conquer the United States, is at eight.

Other big names on the list include Jonathan Ross at 10, Frank Skinner at 11, French and Saunders at 13 and Peter Kay at 15.

Victoria Wood, Jasper Carrott, Rory Bremner and Ruby Wax all scrape into the list, but others who would have been near the top 15 years ago, such as Stephen Fry and David Jason, are left off.

See also:

15 Dec 02 | Entertainment
16 Dec 02 | Entertainment
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30 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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