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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 12:45 GMT
Gervais laughs off award blunder
Ricky Gervais
Gervais won Baftas for best comedy performer in 2002 and 2003
The Office star Ricky Gervais could miss out on his third Bafta award in a row for best comedy performer after the BBC failed to put his name forward.

A "clerical error" by the BBC meant he was not entered - but Bafta can still decide to add him to the longlist.

He told BBC News Online he was "over it already". "It's a level of incompetence worthy of Wernham Hogg," he joked.

He also said producers of the US version of the show are close to choosing an actor to play David Brent.

Gervais was named best comedy performer at the Bafta TV Awards in 2002 and 2003 for his role as the embarrassing workplace manager David Brent.

The Office Christmas special
The final UK episodes of The Office were shown at Christmas
Bafta sent a list of this year's award contenders - including The Office's Martin Freeman and Mackenzie Crook, but not Gervais - to its members on Tuesday.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Ricky's name was always going to be included - it was just a genuine clerical error.

"We spotted it and immediately spoke to Bafta, who have reassured us that Ricky's name is going forward to the next committee meeting."

The Bafta television committee has the power to add his name to the longlist, from which the nominations will be chosen.

Mistakes happen, no-one died - it's just one of those things that you wish hadn't happened
Ricky Gervais
The nominations will be announced on 23 March, with the winners revealed at a ceremony on 18 April.

Gervais said: "Mistakes happen, no-one died. I don't want to get anyone into trouble - it's just one of those things that you wish hadn't happened."

And he joked: "I remember when we were telling [BBC head of comedy] Jon Plowman about David Brent's character four years ago.

"He said 'but why would a man this incompetent keep his job?' and I said 'Jon, go and take a look around this building'."

Office USA

Of the search for an actor to play his character in the US version, Gervais said: "I think we have found a Brent.

"There is an actor who we are all very excited about but we don't want to say his name yet."

None of the stars of the US show would be well-known actors, he said.

"It was the same here four years ago - no-one had heard of any of us."

The final decision on casting would be made in the coming fortnight before filming on a pilot show for the NBC network begins, he said.

In a surprising move, the Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster has tabled an early day motion in parliament asking for Bafta to overlook the clerical error.

Mr Foster's motion "acknowledges the place Gervais holds in the unique tradition of great British comedians".

"This house laments the BBC's clerical error that left Ricky Gervais without a nomination for this year's Bafta awards... and urges Bafta's TV committee to accept a late nomination for Gervais in these exceptional circumstances," the motion says.




SEE ALSO:
Norton wins Gervais' comedy crown
12 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Christmas at The Office with Ricky Gervais
25 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Ricky Gervais: Office worker
13 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Gervais triumphs at Baftas
13 Apr 03  |  Entertainment


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