Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Brand is a winner and Ross a loser on comedy's big night

Victories for Harry Hill, Ricky Gervais and Jasper Carrott, who collected a lifetime achievement award

The fallout from the obscene prank calls by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand loomed large at last night's British Comedy Awards as Brand took the prize for Best Live Stand-up of the year while Ross was notable for his absence.

Neither attended the ceremony in London, but Brand's award, announced by the actress Kelly Brook, brought enthusiastic cheers from the audience.

Brand, who is working in the US after resigning from his Radio 2 show, gave his acceptance speech on video. Presented with his award by Adam Sandler, Brand asked the American comedian if he would like to do a radio show before dedicating his success to Ross, whom he called a "kingmaker".

BBC1's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross was nominated for the Best Comedy Entertainment Programme, but lost to Harry Hill's TV Burp.

Ross was due to notch up his 17th consecutive year as host of the awards, but pulled out after his suspension by the BBC.

Standing in as host, Angus Deayton opened with the line: "Normally it's the winners who can't be here tonight, but in this case it's the host", before commenting upon complaints from the "30,000 self-righteous twats who never heard the programme in the first place".

Alan Carr won Best Comedy Entertainment Performance for Channel 4's Friday Night Project and Sunday Night Project. Ricky Gervais won Best TV Comedy Actor for last year's Extras Christmas special and Sharon Horgan, of BBC3's Pulling, won Best TV Comedy Actress.

Drop Dead Gorgeous, also BBC3's, won Best TV Comedy Drama and QI pipped Have I Got News for You to the Best Comedy Panel Show award.

Jasper Carrott won the Lifetime Achievement award. Gavin and Stacey won the Best TV Comedy award and E4's The Inbetweeners won Best New British Comedy. Katy Brand of ITV's Katy Brand's Big Ass Show, and Simon Bird of The Inbetweeners, won the Best Female and Male Comedy Newcomers awards. The television writer David Renwick, who wrote One Foot in the Grave and the mystery series Jonathan Creek, was given the Ronnie Barker Writers' Guild of Great Britain award.

The Outstanding Contribution to Comedy award went to the producer Geoffrey Perkins, who was killed in a road accident in London three months ago. He was aged 55.

Mr Perkins was a radio producer on the classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and worked with comedians including Deayton, Catherine Tate and Harry Enfield.

Meanwhile, in a ceremony in Copenhagen, Dame Judi Dench was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by the European Film Academy.