Missed the British Comedy Awards? Keep meaning to watch it on 4OD but can’t really be bothered? Need to know who won so you can impress your media friends? Well don’t worry – read this and it’ll be like you were actually there…
It started with a long intro from Jonathan Ross, mainly sniping one liners about comedians not in the room. Some were funny, other less so – what, for example, has Stephen K Amos done wrong?
The award-giving almost got off to a bad start. Michael McIntyre, winner of Best Male TV Comic, wasn’t there and the live feed didn’t seem to work as we stared at pictures of a roof for several seconds. But once it kicked in he looked genuinely delighted – and of course he got in that all important plug in for the new series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.
The Best Comedy Panel Show went to ‘Would I Lie to You?’. This was the newest show of the three nominees, and a solid win for something that’s always of a high standard. But respect to fellow nominee ‘Have I Got News for You’, still fresh and energetic more than 20 years on.
Best New TV Comedy was presented by massive show-off Louie Spence (‘look away from him for a minute and he’ll die’ – thanks Charlie Brooker) and Jerry Hall. ‘Miranda’ won, showing that workaday one-liners and eighties-style slapstick still have a place in comedy: whenever I see it, I always think of ‘When the Whistle Blows’. But Miranda Hart gave a gracious speech, and got her own back on Ross for his earlier joke about seeing her in the urinals.
Best Comedy Entertainment Personality was presented by three vacuous individuals from something called ‘The Only Way is Essex’ – I’ve never seen it, but I’m guessing it’s not my type of thing. Harry Hill won, and his award was grabbed by something that looked like Captain Caveman without a word being said. I’ve tried to love it as much as 99% of the population seem to, but I still find ‘TV Burp’ a mixed bag – a few sharp moments, but others that are tedious and puerile.
Goldie Hawn’s speech about the importance of honouring comedians as she presented Best TV Comedy Actor was well received. Peter Capaldi won and gave a nice speech. This was on for being the nicest part of the evening until Jonathan Ross started talking about Hawn smelling good, turning it into the creepiest part.
The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award was presented by David Mitchell and Robert Webb, including a good skit between Ross and Mitchell about how much the latter’s on TV. The winners were Jessie Armstrong and Sam Bain, whose work is genuinely hilarious – ‘Magicians’ excepted.
The link that went with Best Female TV Comic was a little uneasy, mainly because of Brian Cox. He seems too nice and polite for this type of thing, but there’s something about him that makes you hope he’ll do it well anyway. Jo Brand won and looked surprised.
The Best Sitcom went to ‘The Inbetweeners’, though I got distracted by something. Only mention on screen of the word minge – perhaps my least favourite in the English language – returned me to the task in hand.
Roy Clarke was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. Clarke was described as ‘master of the quietly odd’ and for those that don’t know was sole writer on ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. His speech was heartfelt and warm – this was the nicest moment of the evening.
It was good to see some caustic wit win Best Comedy Entertainment Programme – Charlie Brooker’s ‘Newswipe’. Brooker thanked Sky News for providing most of the material for the show.
John Bishop won Best Male Comedy Breakthrough, but wasn’t there. It’s a shame Kayvan Novak didn’t get it, who’s less boorish and more talented for my money…
The Best Female Comedy Breakthrough went to Samantha Spiro, a vivacious 42 year old winner who proved that getting your break doesn’t have to happen in your twenties or even thirties. Well done to her.
Kayvan Novak didn’t have long to wait before picking up an award – for the Best British Comedy Performance in Film. He won it for ‘4 Lions’, and beat, amongst others, Nigel Lindsay from the same film. I wasn’t sure about ‘4 Lions’ when I saw it: it was dark, but didn’t feel daring enough for something directed by Christopher Morris.
At this point things began to get a bit ragged – with time obviously pressing, Jonathan fluffed a link with Duran Duran. Miranda Hart won Best Comedy Actress. It seems her off-the-cuff one-liners are much better than the scripted material from ‘Miranda’.
Things began to hit warp speed as the Best Sketch Show was rushed through. ‘Horrible Histories’ won; the first children’s show to do so. We were warned that not being happy for them would be like ‘punching a baby’.
The Outstanding Contribution to British Comedy went to Russell Brand, perhaps down to him succeeding in America. But he is a uniquely diverse, energetic and sharp comedian, and his full rehabilitation moves a step closer. He’ll be presenting ‘The One Show’ this time next year.
Finally, the People’s Choice award was given to Miranda Hatr, her third of the night.
So, what’s the overall verdict? Miranda winning three awards is lovely as she seems a lovely person, but it does feel something like when Greece won the European Football Championship a few years ago – down to hard work rather than genuine flair. And nothing for David Mitchell was a surprise – is his star waning after a lukewarm series of ‘Peep Show’? Awards for Charlie Brooker and Kayvan Novak show there’s still big support for those comedians that come at things a little differently – surely there’s much more to come from both of these talents.
Saul Pope is the author of two works of fiction set in Russia: ‘New Holland’ and ‘Russia, The Man and Jonathan David’. He also writes for the football magazine ‘When Saturday Comes’….and watches a lot of crap on TV