Gavin & Stacey up for seven gongs

BBC3 show Gavin & Stacey has bagged seven nominations for this year's British Comedy Awards - an event TV viewers may never get to see. By Ben Dowell.

BBC3 show Gavin & Stacey has bagged more nominations than any other show for this year's British Comedy Awards, although viewers may never get to see if the programme triumphs at the event.

However, ITV presenters Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are a surprise omission from the British Comedy Awards nominations, failing to garner a single nod for the first time in five years.

The double act have featured in either the best comedy entertainment programme or best entertainment personality categories since 2002 and last year won the people's choice award.

Gavin & Stacey's seven nominations are among a total of 18 for BBC shows and performers. Channel 4 has earned 10 and ITV three.

The awards will still be staged at its traditional venue of ITV's London Television Studios on the South Bank, with regular host Jonathan Ross overseeing proceedings, on December 5.

However, it is unclear whether ITV will broadcast the awards show, as it has for the past 17 years, while an investigation is ongoing into alleged irregularities with a phone vote for the 2005 British Comedy Awards.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations between the broadcaster and the show's producer, Michael Hurll Television, ITV is understood to have committed to paying around £700,000 to the producers of the British Comedy Awards for the filming of the event.

The move prevents the event falling into the hands of rival broadcasters such as Channel 4 and Sky.

ITV's payment covers the production costs of filming the awards, which have been shown on ITV for 17 years but have been left in uncertainty after being caught up in the scandal over premium-rate phonelines.

In September, ITV announced it would not broadcast this year's event following alleged phone-voting irregularities relating to the 2005 coverage.

However, a senior ITV source recently told that the broadcaster had not ruled out showing the event, which has "simply been postponed" while media law firm Olswang investigates the alleged irregularities.

Gavin & Stacey, written by and starring Ruth Jones and James Corden, has the most nominations for an individual show, seven nominations across five categories.

The show is nominated for both best British comedy and best new television comedy, while Jones and Corden are each nominated as best comedy newcomers in the male and female categories - along with their co-stars Matthew Horne and Joanna Page.

Jones is also nominated for best television comedy actress, not just for Gavin & Stacey but also for her role in the BBC2 Steve Coogan comedy Saxondale, in a three-way contest with Catherine Tate and Liz Smith.

The presenters from Channel 4's The Friday Night Project, Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins, have been jointly nominated for best comedy entertainment personality, against Stephen Fry for BBC2's QI, and Simon Anstell, the former Popworld presenter turned host of BBC2's Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

The award for best television comedy actor sees a four-way fight between Jack Dee for BBC4's comedy Lead Balloon and Lee Mack for BBC1'S Not Going Out, alongside two of Channel 4's biggest comedy talents, the Peep Show actor David Mitchell, and Kevin Bishop from the spoof comedy Star Stories.

Dee is going for a hat-trick of British Comedy Awards prizes after winning best TV personality in 1995 and best stage newcomer in 1991.

Last year, the British Comedy Awards attracted 5 million viewers and a 23% share of the audience over 90 minutes from 9pm on ITV1.

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Ben Dowell

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