Jack Whitehall crowned king of British Comedy Awards

'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize

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The Independent Culture

Stand-up comic Jack Whitehall saw off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to land the Best TV Comedy Actor prize at the British Comedy Awards. He was also crowned as the King of Comedy in the public vote counted during the show.

Whitehall was recognised for his role in Channel 4's Fresh Meat and thanked the rest of the cast, saying that just to be working with them was “amazing”.

Jonathan Ross, the often controversial host of the awards, kicked off the live show from Wembley, London, with a barrage of quips including a risky reference to the Savile scandal.

He told the audience on Thursday night, which featured the cream of British comedy talent: “They have demolished television centre. The studios we have all known and loved. It is now a building site and ironically it is now a far less dangerous place for children to play than ever before.”

In his wide-ranging warm-up Ross made light of apartheid and Prime Minister David Cameron leaning in in for a “selfie” photograph at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service along with US president Barack Obama and Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

He also poked fun at DJ Paul Gambaccini, TV cook Nigella Lawson and Whitehall's father Michael - who is a talent agent and who has a show with his son.

Paul Whitehouse collected the first award of the night as he and long-time collaborator Harry Enfield picked up the prize for Best Sketch Show for Harry & Paul. It is an award they last won in 2009.

Whitehouse said it was “a real surprise - a genuine surprise, thank you very much” before collapsing in laughter as one of his colleagues made random hand gestures and pretended to be doing sign language for the deaf, in a reference to the fake signer at the Mandela memorial.

He added: “The Comedy Awards are a bit of a national institution and a bit of a joke as well ... but now I'm back with my snout in the trough.”

Miranda Hart reclaimed the title of Best TV Comedy Actress title, an award which she last won in 2011.

In her pre-recorded acceptance speech she jokingly plugged her upcoming tour and said “thank you to my cast and crew although this is basically about me this one - it is a real boost just before my tour”.

Lee Mack was a double winner as Would I Lie To You in which is is a regular along with Rob Brydon and David Mitchell was named as Best Comedy Panel Show.

He also won Best Male TV Comic. He used his acceptance speech to work host Ross like a ventriloquist dummy and force him to apologise to former Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs for the prank phone calls he made along with Russell Brand.

Mack made Ross say: “I would like to offer my resignation and give Lee Mack the opportunity to host his own chat show on ITV.”

Steve Coogan, whose creations include Alan Partridge and Paul Calf, won Outstanding Achievement award.

Australian comedian Adam Hills won Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist prize at the British Comedy Awards.

Hills who won for hosting Channel 4's late night satirical show - The Last Leg - was in Australia where he and his wife have just had their second baby.

And the winners are

Best Comedy Panel Show - Would I Lie To You, BBC

Best Comedy Entertainment Programme - The Graham Norton Show, BBC

Best Sketch Show - Harry & Paul, BBC

Best Sitcom - Getting On,  BBC

Best New Comedy Programme - Plebs, ITV2

Best Male TV Comic - Lee Mack, Would I Lie To You, BBC

Best Female TV Comic - Nina Conti Live At The Apollo, BBC

Best Comedy Entertainment Personality - Alan Carr, Alan Carr: Chatty Man, C4

Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist - Adam Hills, The Last Leg, C4

Best TV Comedy Actor - Jack Whitehall, Fresh Meat, C4

Best TV Comedy Actress - Miranda Hart, Miranda, BBC

International Achievement - Will Ferrell

Outstanding Achievement - Steve Coogan

The Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award - Paul Whitehouse

The 2013 King of Comedy - Jack Whitehall