Not so long ago, Jonathan Ross was the television world's persona non grata who had stepped over the line of decency after making a lewd phone call on a radio show. Yesterday, all was apparently forgiven when his television chat show was nominated for a Bafta award.
The family of Andrew Sachs – the actor at the receiving end of Ross's radio phone prank – declared they were "flabbergasted" by the nomination for Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.
The presenter had been suspended from TV screens for 12 weeks last October after he and the comedian Russell Brand left a series of lewd messages on the actor's answering machine. More than 30,000 complaints were made about the show, the controller of Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, resigned and the BBC told Ross that his subsequent suspension was a final warning.
Ross, 48, was nominated in the entertainment performance category for his show. Andrew Newman, a member of Bafta's TV committee, said Ross's involvement in the obscene phone calls scandal was unlikely to be a factor in the judges' consideration.
"This is a nomination for his performance in Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, so what he did on somebody else's radio show would not be a right thing to consider," he said. "He has been nominated five times before and is a very entertaining performer."
Ross was up against Stephen Fry for QI, Harry Hill for Harry Hill's TV Burp, and Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly for I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here.
The biographical drama Hancock and Joan, about the final year in the life of the comedian Tony Hancock, received three nominations, including one for best actor for Ken Stott.
Joining Stott on the best actor list are Stephen Dillane for The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall, Jason Isaacs for The Curse Of Steptoe and Ben Whishaw for Criminal Justice.
Hancock And Joan is vying with Einstein And Eddington, The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall and White Girl for the single drama Bafta.
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June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in EastEnders, was nominated for best actress for her solo episode of the soap – her first Bafta nomination, 49 years after she made her television debut. Also up for best actress were Anna Maxwell Martin for Poppy Shakespeare, Maxine Peake for Hancock and Joan and Andrea Riseborough for Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk To Finchley.
Kenneth Branagh received his sixth film and television Bafta nomination for his work as producer on Wallander. In the features category, Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear go head to head with Sir Alan Sugar's The Apprentice, alongside The Choir: Boys Don't Sing and Celebrity MasterChef.
The Bafta Television Awards will be held on 26 April at the Royal Festival Hall.
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