Jonathan Ross to continue presenting British Comedy Awards

Channel 4 has confirmed that Jonathan Ross will continue to present The British Comedy Awards following its transfer from ITV to the broadcaster.

Jonathan Ross will continue to present the British Comedy Awards when they switch to Channel 4. It was announced earlier in the month that the network had signed a three year deal with Unique Television, the producers of the awards, to host the ceremony taking over from ITV which had broadcast them for the past 20 years. The move by Channel4 is part of its plans too boost comedy output thanks to recent success with its Comedy Gala and Alternative Election Night.

Although the awards will switch to a new broadcast home they shall continue to be presented by Jonathan Ross who is the traditional host of the ceremony. He was temporarily replaced in 2008 by Angus Deayton following the “Sachs-gate” scandal which involved Ross and Russell Brand leaving “lewd” messages on the answer machine of actor Andrew Sachs.

The public outcry over the incident, whipped up by the Mail On Sunday, resulted in the departure of Brand from Radio 2 as well as its controller, Lesley Douglas. The 2007 award show wasn’t televisised by ITV, who at the time had ditched the format owing to unrelated controversy following a phone-in ‘con’ which effected the programme and saw Ant and Dec take away a gong they hadn’t actually won – with the viewers actually voting for Catherine Tate.

Ross was suspended from the corporation for a period of time and the scandal is believed to have influenced his decision to quit the BBC all together – he will bow out this July. Graham Norton will take over presenting duties on his Radio 2 show while Claudia Winkleman will host Film 2010 although its unclear if Friday Night will continue or not.

The announcement that Ross will continue to present the awards will be a boost to the presenter but will doubtless upset legions of Daily Mail readers.