ITV postpones British Comedy Awards

ITV will not broadcast this year’s British Comedy Awards after admitting it has launched an investigation into allegations of phone-in irregularities on a previous year’s show.

The broadcaster today issued a statement which said it had appointed media law firm Olswang to conduct an “investigation into an issue that has arisen in respect of the British Comedy Awards 2005″.

It said: “Pending conclusion of the investigation, broadcast of the British Comedy Awards 2007 will be postponed. ITV will not make any further comment regarding this matter until the conclusion of the investigation.”

Earlier this year, The Sun claimed viewers of the 2005 awards rang a premium rate phone number to vote for the People’s Choice Award, despite the fact the voting had already finished.

The paper claimed the first 90 minutes of the awards show, before the ITV new bulletin, was live.

However, it alleged that the show’s last half an hour was pre-recorded, whilst ITV went to the news and that voters were encouraged to carry on casting votes when it came back on at 11pm.

The British Comedy Awards has been on television for 17 years. Although ITV will not show the event this year, it is understood other broadcasters could be interested in screening the event, which takes place in London in December and will be hosted by Jonathan Ross.

ITV is understood to be keen to broadcast next year’s comedy awards.

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