Another night, another awards ceremony. There’ll be Jonathan Ross making near-the-knuckle jokes about fellow performers, Award Presenters Behaving Badly, and a Lifetime Achievement prize for someone who doesn’t work much these days. There’ll also be the obligatory thanks to the suits, beaming smiles from the losers (“look happy for the bitch”), and it’ll overrun. The formula’s tight, the results drearily predictable, and in the end it’s just a big game. Bernie Ecclestone should be promoting it.
With Barrymore non grata, it was left to Jonny Vegas to behave badly, turning his Best Newcomer presentation into a diatribe on the transience of fame (not always, Jonny, but you need talent for the lasting variety). Best Acceptance Speech went jointly to Kathy Burke (who couldn’t give a f**k, but did anyway, three of them in fact) and Peter Kay, who gave his thanks etc (twice) live from his stand-up show in Manchester.
The Ungrateful Git award went The Kumars’ Sanjeev Bhaskar for his “guests make a chat show – we’re a sitcom” (not entirely, Sanjeev), and the Oh-No-Not-Again award went to Graham Norton (again). Most Honest Reaction went to non-winner Ronni Ancona, who looked pissed off the entire time (as well she might). The biggest cheers of the night went to Eric Sykes, for being one of the true greats of British comedy, and to Angus Deayton, for drawing attention away from the extra-curricular activities of the people who’ve still got jobs.
The programme was given just 90 minutes of airtime, which meant that, post-Vegas, they had to switch to Plan B clips of the nominees’ work, soundless and barely three seconds long. Unfortunately this shifted the focus even further from the comedy to the room full of beaming luvvies, producers and hangers-on, busily patting each other on the back while no doubt planning to stab each other in it at the first opportunity. That sort of thing has long since ceased to be a pretty sight. Perhaps we’ve had enough of Unreality TV.