Ah, the British Comedy Awards. The annual gathering of the best, brightest and often bluest comedy minds in Blighty. A veritable who's who of mirth; a sea of familiar funny faces all gathered together for the yearly prize-giving ceremony of those voted top of the comedy class.
This year, the awards celebrate their 21st birthday, during which time there have been more than a few classic moments, scripted and otherwise, like Spike Milligan's withering put down of Prince Charles in 1994 (he subsequently sent the Prince a telegram saying, 'I suppose a Knighthood is out of the question now?').
And who can forget Ant and Dec accepting the People's Choice Award despite not actually winning it in 2005? The award was due to be received by Catherine Tate.
And that's not all. Jonathan Ross was left almost literally speechless in 1995 when Michael Barrymore unplugged an autocue, and not even the Award winners were left unscathed in 2008 when Kevin Bishop picked some out, including James Corden, for special heckling attention.
We hope there are plenty more golden comedy moments in this year's show, but to whet your appetite in the meantime, here are the nominees...and you will be able to follow our coverage live from the event on the BBC Comedy Twitter account
Up for the 'Best Comedy Panel Show' award is Have I Got News For you, a veritable giant of television comedy after 40 series. The satirical show began life over twenty years ago in 1990 and has been a staple of satire and controversy ever since, featuring the cream of British comedy and a fair few gag-merchants from further afield too.
Surrealism rather than satire is the order of the day for Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's panel game show Shooting Stars. The third incarnation of the show began broadcasting in 2008 with BBC Comedy Online regular Angelos Epithemiou as the current score keeper from behind his 'dream machine'. Not bad for a former burger van owner.
First broadcast in 2007, the BBC One celebrity quiz show Would I Lie To You? features various celebrities telling stories which the opposing team must guess as true or false. The question is did Ronnie Corbett mean four candles or fork handles?
The Graham Norton Show is a more adult-themed chat show than the standard fair, featuring a plethora of celebrity guests from movie stars to pop singers. In our clip Matt Le Blanc enjoys a nice sit down and a beer, from a fridge which fires the unopened can in his direction. A nomination for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme is well-deserved then (for the show, not the fridge).
Charlie Brooker is a columnist, presenter and writer for a series of shows and newspapers, and a nominee for Best Comedy Entertainment Personality at this year's British Comedy Awards. His show, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, first broadcast on BBC Four in 2006 followed by Newswipe in 2009, the same year he won Best Newcomer at the British Television Awards. He also wrote for BBC sketch show Rush Hour and presented a BBC Radio 4 series entitled So Wrong It's Right in 2009.
David Mitchell is well known from his appearances on various panel shows to his starring roles in Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look with his long-time comedy partner Robert Webb. Mitchell and Webb followed a rather unique route; moving from television to BBC Radio 4 and back again. As a nominee for Best Male Comic, though, David will definitely want to keep the award to himself, should he win.
Multi-Comedy Award winning baldy Harry Hill is back again for more as he's nominated for a further four awards this year in recognition of his unique take on the universe. Here, Jon Culshaw breaks out his best impression of the man.
Über effervescent stand-up Michael McIntyre won the 2009 Best Live Stand-up Performer Award at the British Comedy Awards following his success with the BBC live stand-up shows, Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow. Here Michael entertains an audience including members of the Emmerdale cast with his own version of the Emmerdale theme tune.
Jo Brand is, perhaps, best known for her stand-up which began when she was persuaded to give it a go in the '80s. Fast forward over 20 years and the former psychiatric nurse is now regarded as one of the premier female comics on the circuit. Fortunately her repertoire extends to television too as this exclusive extra from BBC Four series Getting On demonstrates. Did we also mention that she's a nominee for Best Female Comic at this year's British Comedy Awards? No? Well, now we have.
It's not often that from the ashes of divorce a brilliant stand-up performer is born, but Sarah Millican used the setback to become one of the rising stars of the comedy circuit. It began with a workshop for people who had never performed before and a monologue about her divorce, and before long Sarah was playing sold out shows across the country. Now she rightly takes her place at the British Comedy Awards with two nominations for Best Female Comic and Best Female Comedy Breakthrough Artist. Another regular of comedy panel and live stand-up shows, in our clip from Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow Sarah discusses the third way to dress with a bra.
Shappi Khorsandi made her solo debut in 2003 and nominated for a Chortle Award in 2007 for Best Breakthrough Act. The Iranian-born comedienne has since appeared on several television shows as well as hosting her own four part BBC Radio Four show My Teenage Diary in 2009, plus an Edinburgh Festival one-woman show and a tour in 2011. Phew!
Ex-Never Mind the Buzzcocks host Simon Amstell plays a version of himself in the self-penned sitcom Grandma's House. The series, which aired in 2010 on BBC Two, concerned TV presenter Simon quitting his job to do something more meaningful with his life. It was set in...well...Grandma's House, of course, though we can't help but wonder if the award for Best New British TV Comedy will appear on Grandma's mantelpiece, should the show win.
Described by FT.com as 'the most original and farcically hilarious female clown since Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders', Miranda Hart's rise to the top has seen her appear in Smack the Pony, Hyperdrive, the Vicar of Dibley and Absolutely Fabulous. The 6 foot 1 star then wrote and starred in the eponymous Miranda, which first aired on BBC Two in 2009, and is nominated for Best New British TV Comedy and Best Sitcom. In our clip Miranda makes a mess of the situation, in typical fashion. Oh, Miranda Hart is also nominated for Best Comedy Actress. Blimey!
Put two of the finest British comedy talents together on a road trip to sample some of the north of England's finest restaurants and what do you get? An improvised slice of bittersweet comedy gold from Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, that's what. In our clip from the 2010 series The Trip, the odd couple are told they'll be sharing a room.
Jack Whitehall went to school with Twilight star Robert Pattinson. Fortunately for comedy fans he chose stand-up rather than movie stardom and was soon nominated as Best Newcomer in the 2008 Chortle Awards. His Nearly Rebellious show at the Edinburgh Fringe saw him nominated for Best Newcomer, but judging from our clip the accolades haven't helped him with members of the opposite sex. Maybe a nomination for Best Male Comedy Breakthrough Artist will make a difference.
Taking to the stage for the first time in 2000, it was only a year before John Bishop made the final of the BBC New Comedy Awards. He has since appeared on several television shows including Have I Got News For You, Would I Lie To You?, and Live At The Apollo, along with a live tour. His own show, John Bishop's Britain, aired in 2010.
Kayvan Novak has appeared in Hollywood movies with George Clooney and Matt Damon. He is also the co-creator of Fonejacker. If that wasn't eclectic enough, the Iranian born actor has appeared in BBC series Spooks and Chris Morris' satirical comedy Four Lions for which he is nominated for Best British Comedy Performance in Film. This man has many strings to his bow.
Best Female Comedy Breakthrough Artist nominee Isy Suttie is probably best known for her role as Dobby in Peep Show, for which she earned a 2008 British Comedy Award nomination for Best Newcomer. Isy has also performed in two sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival, as a voice artist in BBC comedy sketch show, Walk On The Wild Side and as waitress Kiki in Whites with Alan Davies.
Best known for playing Barbara Windsor in the stage show Cleo, Camping, Emanuelle and Dick, Samantha Spiro's television credits include BBC sitcoms After You've Gone Coupling and as Simon Amstell's rather hairy upper-lipped aunt Liz in Grandma's House.
In 2007, Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse showed there was still life in the old dogs yet with sketch show Harry and Paul. Age had not dimmed their sketch writing prowess as a BAFTA Award for the show proved. Three series followed, during which the show won a British Comedy Award for Best Sketch Show in 2009, culminating in a further nomination for Best Sketch Show at this year's awards.
Children's television show Horrible Histories is based on the Terry Deary book of the same name. The show features the rather unsavoury histories of various civilisations, including Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians. Two series and a Christmas Special have been broadcast on CBBC stuffed full of blood, battles and black humour. The perfect antidote to boring classroom history lessons! Check out this 'Behind the Scenes' clip for a better idea.
The Armstrong and Miller Show first broadcast on BBC One in 2007, featuring the talents (obviously) of Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller. The show has run for three series with a BAFTA Award for Best Comedy Programme in 2010. Here's a clip from the show and if you don't like that you can just deal with it, girlfriend.
The Thick Of It followed on from the sharp satire of previous decades with a look at the inner workings of the British government. Three series of the show have broadcast since 2005 featuring the aggressive Director of Communications Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, who has turned profanity into an art form with his vitriol. Hopefully a nomination for Best Sitcom and Best Comedy Actor will cheer him up.
Over three series, the Inbetweeners demonstrated perfectly the pain of being teenager surviving somewhere between the popular kids and the social outcasts. And that's without falling foul of teachers, played in The Inbetweeners by human giant Greg Davies, seen here in a rather more flamboyant guise along with fellow INbetweener Blake Harrison in Schizo Samurai Shitzu.
Trying to repeat any role made famous by David Jason would be daunting enough, but playing a younger version Del Boy would make many cower in fear. Not so James Buckley who, following his role as Jay in the Inbetweeners, took the role in BBC's Rock and Chips. Here, auto trader Alberto gives Del some good advice, but will it help him win Best Comedy Actor?
Rob Brydon's career has seen him star in a number of hit shows, including Marion and Geoff, The Keith Barret Show and Gavin and Stacey, but in The Trip playing a version of himself must have been an altogether different experience, especially when starring opposite Steve Coogan and enjoying some quality dining.
As an actor in Hollywood films, period dramas and BBC comedies, Tom Hollander has seen it all, but it's unlikely that he ever expected to be playing an Anglican Vicar in East London as he does in BBC Two comedy Rev, which broadcast in 2010. Here the reverend faces scepticism from a class of children regarding the Immaculate Conception.
Katherine Parkinson is probably best known for her role in the IT Crowd, but has also starred in the West End, on Doctor Who, Old Guys and BBC Four three-parter The Great Outdoors. Katherine also collected the award for Best Television Comedy Actress at the British Comedy Awards in 2009 and has since starred in BBC sitcom Whites from which this clip is taken. Can she make it two years in a row?
Best British Comedy Performance in Film nominee Aaron Johnson took to the streets in Matthew Vaughn's Kick Ass, where he fought crime without the aid of any serious superhero skills or powers. The actor had previous played John Lennon in Nowhere Boy and had roles in shows such as BBC's Casualty and The Bill, which was probably good grounding for his future fight against crime wearing a wet suit.
After television roles in Spooks and Silent Witness and parts in movies such as Rogue Trader alongside Ewan McGregor, Nigel Lindsay notably played Barry, the white Muslim convert in Chris Morris's Four Lions for which he was nominated for Best British Comedy Performance in Film at the British Comedy Awards
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