The BBC political satire The Thick Of It has marked a year which saw “omnishambles” recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary by taking two prizes at the British Comedy Awards.
Peter Capaldi took the Best Comedy Actor award for his role as Malcolm Tucker, the foul-mouthed spin doctor who coined the word “omnishambles”, which became attached to George Osborne’s unravelling Budget.
Rebecca Front, who plays flailing leader of the opposition Nicola Murray, was named Best Comedy Actress at the event, broadcast live by Channel 4. Front’s triumph came 18 years after her last comedy nomination.
However Armando Iannucci, creator of The Thick Of It, has said that the fourth series, which recently concluded on BBC2, will be the last.
Julia Davis, who specialises in comedy of a dark and twisted hue, was a double-winner for Hunderby, her spoof period drama inspired by Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.
Hunderby, which Davis both wrote and starred in, was voted Best Sitcom and Best New Comedy Programme.
Hunderby was broadcast on the satellite channel Sky Atlantic and its victory marks a breakthrough for BSkyB, which has used its subscription resources to poach comedy talent from the BBC.
Davis, whose BBC sitcom Nighty Night was a winner in 2004, said: “It’s just a question of going somewhere where you’re wanted.”
Lucy Lumsden, BSkyB head of Comedy, said: “I told Julia, ‘I’ll commission the next thing you deliver. Give us a script in a month and we’ll commission it’. Hunderby built to the end of its run through word of mouth. At Sky we can do things which might be uncommissionable elsewhere.”
Harry Hill’s TV Burp was named Best Comedy Entertainment Programme for the fourth and final time. Hill is giving up the ITV series after 11 years. Lee Mack beat his fellow teammate on the BBC1 panel show Would I Lie To You? to win Best Male Comic at the third attempt.
Sacha Baron Cohen, the Borat and Dictator star, made a rare personal appearance to pick up the Outstanding Contribution to Comedy award. He received the honour 13 years after being named Best Newcomer.
This year’s Breakthrough Artist was Morgana Robinson, whose Very Important People sketch show for Channel 4 poked fun at celebrities. She beat 11 year-old David Rawle, the child actor nominated for his role in Sky 1’s Moone Boy.
Cardinal Burns, the E4 series written by and starring Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns, took the Best Sketch Show prize.
Satirist Charlie Brooker beat Graham Norton and Stephen Fry to take the Comedy Entertainment Personality prize.
Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer won the Writers Guild of Great Britain special award.
Mortimer said: "I’m really proud that Jim & I have always written our own guff. It’s great to have that recognised”.
2012 British Comedy Awards winners
Best comedy entertainment personality: Charlie Brooker
Best sitcom: Hunderby
Best new comedy programme: Hunderby
Best male TV comic: Lee Mack
Best comedy entertainment programme: Harry Hill's TV Burp
Best comedy breakthrough artist: Morgana Robinson
Best TV comedy actress: Rebecca Front
Best TV comedy actor: Peter Capaldi
Best female TV comic: Jo Brand
Best sketch show: Cardinal Burns
The writer's guild of Great Britain: Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer
Outstanding achievement to comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen