The British Comedy Awards moves to Channel 4

Image caption,
It has not been confirmed whether Jonathan Ross will return as the host

The British Comedy Awards is moving to Channel 4 after 20 years on ITV, it has been announced.

Channel 4 secured broadcast rights to the annual event for three years.

The network said it would bring the show "bang up to date, reinvigorating the brand and and reverting to a live broadcast".

It has not yet been confirmed whether long-time host Jonathan Ross will continue to present the ceremony.

Channel 4's head of comedy Shane Allen said: "The British Comedy Awards are crucial in recognising the excellence, originality and rude health of the comedy industry.

"At their best, the awards have a spirit of mischief, hilarity, surprise and danger about them, so Channel 4 feels like a natural fit."

Phone-voting problems

In recent years controversy has marred the event, with jokes made by Ross being heavily criticised in the press.

In 2006 he made a joke about Heather Mills and her prosthetic leg and the following year the presenter suggested he thought he was worth "1,000 BBC journalists" during a time when the corporation was making lots of redundancies in news.

He was temporarily replaced by Angus Deayton in 2008 following the Sachsgate row and his BBC suspension.

In 2007 ITV suspended broadcasting of the event for that year while phone-voting problems were looked into.

An investigation was launched into Ant and Dec winning the People's Choice trophy, even though the Catherine Tate show had more votes.

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