British Comedy Awards 2012: who should clearly win

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We’ve rummaged over this year’s shortlist to save you having to form an opinion of your own...

(Here are what turned out as the winners in the end...)


Best Sketch Show

Cardinal Burns
Horrible Histories
Very Important People
Interviewing Cardinal Burns a few months ago was, as is often the case with character or sketch comedians, not the most straightforward of propositions. When the dictaphone was on, they gave polite, thoughtful, but not-hugely-fleshed out answers. But as soon as it was off, there was lots of asking about what I thought of the show, how SSP worked, and all sorts of other questions about how I ticked as a person. 
It’s a common response from successful sketch and character comedians who put some effort into taking in the world around them, and - if they are talented enough, and ‘the boys’ certainly are - finding the funny in it. A stellar team helped to translate that in to one of the most palatable shows on TV this year, and one which stayed funny until the end of the series - no mean feat for a sketch show...

Best New Comedy Programme

Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places Of My Life
Cardinal Burns
Moone Boy
...which is why we’re suggesting this is the best new comedy programme too. This is no judgement on the other shows: Hunderby would be quite a nice win too, and how Alan Partridge continues to be made into a fresh proposition in every new format after twenty years has to be one of the marvels of modern comedy. We have no idea if Moone Boy is any cop, anyone seen it?
One last point: this category shows one of the big shortcomings of the awards this year - the best shows were online pilots for broadcasters, namely Nick Helm for Channel 4 Blaps and Dawson Bros Funtime on BBC Three.
Bad news for BBC Three: no nod for World Series of Dating.

Best Comedy Entertainment Programme

Alan Carr: Chatty Man
Celebrity Juice
Harry Hill's TV Burp
The Graham Norton Show
This is normally the weakest category, but good grief, this year’s selection is particularly bad. Harry Hill probably deserves it for services rendered via TV Burp, although even its most ardent fans seemed to admit it was losing its direction a bit. Was the retooled Room 101 really no better than this? Or 10 O’Clock Live, even?
Bad news for BBC Three: no nod for Live At The Electric.

Best Sitcom

The Thick Of It
Twenty Twelve
Amid a flood of family-friendly sitcoms, it’s interesting to see how workplace-focused and chattering class-friendly the Best Sitcom nominations are this year. There’s no nominations for anything on Sky 1, or young fare like Hebburn or Bad Sugar. 
Of what has made it to the shortlist, The Thick Of It mixed up the best episodes it has ever made (on the Opposition) with the worst (the Government; the Leveson-esque episode). But Hunderby was a treat and could probably do with the exposure, in the same way that people sat up and paid attention to Twenty Twelve last year after its best sitcom win. 
Bad news for BBC Three: no nod for Cuckoo. 

Best Comedy Entertainment Personality

Charlie Brooker (for Charlie Brooker's 2011 Wipe)
Graham Norton (for The Graham Norton Show)
Harry Hill (for Harry Hill's TV Burp)
Stephen Fry (for QI)
Charlie Brooker may have become one of TV’s least consistent performers, but his annual Wipes continue to show the very best of him: reframing the everyday in hilarious, thought provoking ways and pulling in contributors who have something interesting to say. Thankfully, it’s being turned into a weekly show.
Bad news for BBC Three: no nod for Chris Moyles and his comedy empire.

Best TV Comedy Actor

Hugh Bonneville (for Twenty Twelve)
Peter Capaldi (for The Thick Of It)
Steve Coogan (for Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places Of My Life)
Tom Hollander (for Rev.)
This has to be the toughest category of the night and all four would be worthy winners. But the consummate ease with which Capaldi has occupied Malcolm Tucker for so long – particularly when compared to the lacklustre new main cast additions to The Thick Of It – have helped showcase one of the country’s most adaptable TV actors. If the end of the road has truly been hit for Tucker, this would surely be a great goodbye nod for Capaldi from comedy.
Bad news for BBC Three: no nod for anyone in Bad Education.

Best TV Comedy Actress

Jessica Hynes (for Twenty Twelve)
Olivia Colman (for Rev.)
Olivia Colman (for Twenty Twelve)
Rebecca Front (for The Thick Of It)
The Olivia Colman Award seems to cover almost exactly the same shows as Best TV Comedy Actor. No offence to Colman, but it’s Rebecca Front who really brought a character to life, in a way that both captures the best of her predecessor Chris Langham’s flat-footed politicking and sculpts the role as one for herself as a failing frump in the public eye. Also: we’re assuming that entries closed too late for Getting On to be up for an award, otherwise something weird is going on.
Bad news for BBC Three: no nod for anyone in Dead Boss.

Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist

David Rawle (for Moone Boy)
Morgana Robinson (for Very Important People)
Nina Conti (for Make Me Happy: A Monkey's Search For Enlightenment)
Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns (for Cardinal Burns)
Okay, we’ll be honest: we haven’t seen Moone Boy. Morgana Robinson’s impression of Fearne Cotton is amazing, but like so many impressionists before her, she seems to have more talent than she has jokes. And it would take the mick a bit to give Nina Conti a breakthrough award after so long in the business. So...Cardinal Burns, anyone? 
Bad news for BBC Three: no nod for anyone in Pramface.

Best Male Television Comic

David Mitchell (for Would I Lie To You?)
Harry Hill (for Harry Hill's TV Burp)
Lee Mack (for Would I Lie To You?)
Sean Lock (for 8 Out Of 10 Cats)
There’s no Best Comedy Panel show award this year - probably because nothing could match up to 2011 winner Shooting Stars, let’s be honest - but this category has been overrun with the format anyway. We’d suggest Sean Lock, who like Phill Jupitus, has helped to restrain the worst excesses of abusive comedy in a long-running comedy through light absurdism and easy laughs.
Bad news for BBC Three: no nod for Russell Howard.

Best Female Television Comic

Jo Brand (for Have I Got News For You)
Nina Conti (for Make Me Happy: A Monkey's Search For Enlightenment)
Sarah Millican (for The Sarah Millican Television Programme)
Sue Perkins (for Have I Got News For You)
Sarah Millican was given a truly terrible show format (MILLICAM) that rarely made sense, and still managed to shine through with the light filth/homeliness that has made her name. 
Bad news for BBC Three: the closest they’ve had to a female TV comic was Lauren Laverne backchatting Johnny Vaughan on his chat show, about 86 years ago.

King or Queen of Comedy

Alan Carr
Lee Mack

Sarah Millican
David Mitchell
Graham Norton
Jack Whitehall
To be honest, we couldn’t give a hoot who wins this, so long as the lamazing Sims animations make a return, reducing your favourite comedians to avatars about as three-dimensional as World Series of Dating.
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