Page last updated at 00:01 GMT, Sunday, 7 December 2008

Brand wins British Comedy Award


Adam Sandler presents Brand with his award. Footage courtesy of ITV1

Controversial comedian Russell Brand has won the best live stand-up award at the British Comedy Awards.

Brand took the prestigious title in the wake of the row over the prank calls he and TV host Jonathan Ross made to actor Andrew Sachs on Brand's Radio 2 show.

Brand resigned from the BBC following the incident and Ross was suspended from all BBC duties for 12 weeks.

Accepting his award from Adam Sandler in LA, Brand said: "I would like to dedicate this award to Jonathan Ross."

He continued: "There are no comedy awards without Jonathan Ross, he is the king-maker."

Brand, who is now pursuing his Hollywood movie career, asked Sandler if he would like to do a radio show - to huge laughter.

Angus Deayton hosted this year's awards show at the London Television Studios, standing in for Ross, who stepped down after his BBC suspension.

Ricky Gervais
This is beneath me to be honest: I've won real awards, Golden Globes and Emmys
Ricky Gervais, Best Television Comedy Actor

Ross may not have been at the ceremony but Deayton lost no time in making jokes about the reasons for his absence.

"Normally at awards shows, it's the winners that can't be here but this time it's the host," he said.

He said Ross must be waiting at home anxiously wondering if the phone would ever ring again - giving him an insight into the life of his brother Paul Ross.

Deayton said Brand could not be at the awards as he was on a beach in Hawaii - no doubt "distraught" at losing his Radio 2 slot.

Ricky Gervais won the coveted title of Best Television Comedy Actor for last year's Extras Christmas Special.

Gervais could not accept his award in person and had instead prepared a video message.

Sitting in a regal-looking bed in his pyjamas, Gervais joked: "I can't be bothered to be here, there in person.

"This is beneath me to be honest: I've won real awards, Golden Globes and Emmys."

He went on to raise howls of laughter from the London audience, as he revealed pop singer George Michael was in the bed with him.

Michael was just one of the many famous faces to have taken part in Extras, thereby agreeing to be the butt of many of the jokes in the episode concerned.

'Good friend'

Sharon Horgan won the award for Best Comedy Entertainment Actress for the BBC show Pulling.

Alan Carr won the award for Best Comedy Entertainment Personality.

Carr is best known for hosting TV shows the Sunday Night Project and Celebrity Ding Dong.

Geoffrey Perkins
Geoffrey Perkins was honoured posthumously

Accepting his award from US actor Alec Baldwin, Carr said: "Thank you ever so much, see you on Celeb Air."

Harry Hill's TV Burp won the award for the Best Comedy Entertainment Programme, for which Friday Night with Jonathan Ross had also been shortlisted.

Ross's show was criticised last month by the BBC Trust for the use of lewd language in separate interviews with Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Aspel.

Striking a poignant note in the night's proceedings was the Outstanding Contribution to Comedy award.

This was given posthumously to comedy producer Geoffrey Perkins who died in a road crash earlier this year, aged 55.

Best newcomers

Perkins was the comic genius behind many of British TV's best-loved comedy shows, including Father Ted, the Catherine Tate show and the Fast Show.

Deayton, who had worked with Perkins on many occasions, paid tribute to his "good friend".

Katy Brand
Katy Brand won for her Big Ass Show

"He was not necessarily a household name but he should have been," said Deayton.

The award was accepted by Perkins's daughter Charlotte who said her father would have been "extremely surprised and utterly honoured to receive this award".

She added that her father loved everything about his work.

Frank Skinner came to the stage to announce Gavin and Stacey as the winner of the Best TV Comedy Award.

Skinner joked to Deayton: "Your suspension's dragging on a bit."

Deayton hosted BBC One's Have I Got News For You until he was axed in 2002 over newspaper revelations he had used cocaine and prostitutes.

Hollywood actress and the Licks singer Juliette Lewis presented Best Comedy Drama of 2008 to darkly comic BBC Three show Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Best New British Comedy went to The Inbetweeners, a series about a group of teenagers.

Best Male Comedy Newcomer of 2008 also went to the show's Simon Bird.

Katy Brand won Best Female Comedy Newcomer for Katy Brand's Big Ass Show.

Golden Balls host Jasper Carrott picked up a Lifetime Achievement Award, handed to him by actor Robert Powell.

Television writer David Renwick, who is known for One Foot in the Grave as well as mystery series Jonathan Creek, was given the Ronnie Barker Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award.

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