Goon spikes tribute from the 'grovelling bastard' Prince

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The Independent Online
The best of British comedy was treated to a vintage performance by an old master last night when Spike Milligan called his friend the Prince of Wales ''a grovelling bastard''.

The 76-year-old former Goon brought the house down with the comment as he received a lifetime achievement award at the British Comedy Awards in London.

And he had the latest crop of British comedy talent in hysterics as he said: ''I am not going to thank anybody - because I did it all myself.''

Mr Milligan wept as he accepted the award and after being gently prompted to go on stage he proved the old wit was still firing and reduced the televised show's running order to anarchy. ''I was going to say about bloody time!'' he said, as the standing ovation died away. ''As the television companies have not employed me for 10 years, I will take that as a golden handshake.''

The show's host, Jonathan Ross, tried to read a tribute from Prince Charles. But as he read: ''I must confess that I have been a lifelong fan of the [Goon Show] participants, and particularly Spike Milligan . . .'' the comedian interrupted fondly: ''Oh, the little grovelling bastard.''

After a second interruption, Mr Ross abandoned his attempt and thrust the tribute into Milligan's hands, saying: ''He loves you!'' Any fears that the remark would cause outrage were ill-founded. Only four telephone complaints were received before the ITV programme ended, an LWT spokeswoman said.

At the ceremony, Steve Coogan won top comedy male performer and was also named top television comedy personality for his performance as Alan Partridge in the spoof talk show Knowing Me, Knowing You.

Chris Morris, from the current affairs spoof The Day Today, was named top television comedy newcomer.

Tracey Ullman was presented with the award for top female comedy performer by the comic actor John Sessions.