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Last Updated: Monday, 12 January, 2004, 11:26 GMT
Norton wins Gervais' comedy crown
Graham Norton
Graham Norton will begin an exclusive BBC contract in April
Graham Norton has been named the most powerful person in UK comedy, knocking last year's top figure, The Office star Ricky Gervais, off the top spot.

Norton - who is to move to a BBC One Saturday night show this year - jumped to first from third place in 2003.

He swapped places with Gervais, who has moved to third in the Radio Times list.

In second place is Phoenix Nights creator Peter Kay - up from 15th last year - with Jonathan Ross, Craig Cash and Steve Coogan also in the top 10.

Radio Times cover with Peter Kay and Jonathan Ross
1. Graham Norton
2. Peter Kay
3. Ricky Gervais
4. Jonathan Ross
5. Lorraine Heggessey
Source: Radio Times
Coogan was in second place last year - but slipped to number nine in the latest list.

And Little Britain duo Matt Lucas and David Walliams were the highest new entry, jointly listed at 10.

Radio Times said 2003 turned out to be a good year for comedy - with shows like Little Britain, Early Doors and QI - despite a shaky start.

Norton was ranked top after clinching both his BBC deal and a weekly show on the US cable channel Comedy Central.

"Even a toned-down Graham Norton is certain to be more risqué than anything late-night American TV has ever seen before," the magazine said.

Of Gervais, it said: "After the all-conquering year that was 2002, Gervais and writing partner, Stephen Merchant couldn't sustain the same level of achievement in 2003."

Influential behind-the-scenes figures also made it onto the list, with BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey in fifth and her BBC Two counterpart seventh.

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