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Triumphant night for 'Gavin and Stacey' at comedy awards

6th December 2007

The simple premise of boy meets girl resulted in three prestigious British Comedy Awards for BBC3 last night.

Gavin and Stacey tells the story of a regular guy from Essex and regular girl from Barry Island, South Wales and was written by the actors Ruth Jones and James Corden after they had met on the set of ITV1's Fat Friends. During filming, Corden told Jones about an idea for a comedy that he and his girlfriend had come up with and the pair decided to write the sitcom together.

They were so dedicated to the project that Jones even flew to New York, where Corden was appearing in the Broadway production of Alan Bennett's The History Boys so they could continue writing. Last night, their effort paid off when Gavin and Stacey was crowned best new comedy at the awards in London, beating Jack Dee's BBC4 comedy Lead Balloon and BBC1 sitcom Not Going Out.

Jones and Corden, who play the couple's best friends Nessa and Smith, were also named best female and male newcomer.

The BBC3 series, which also stars Alison Steadman and Rob Brydon, is produced by Baby Cow, the production company set up by Steve Coogan and Henry Normal, which was behind Saxondale and Nighty Night.

The overall award for best television comedy was won, however, by Peep Show, the Channel 4 comedy about a pair of young male flatmates. David Mitchell, who plays the geeky Mark Corrigan in the series, was crowned best television comedy actor. He is one half of the comic duo Mitchell and Webb, formed with Robert Webb, who Mitchell had known since the duo attended Cambridge University.

The humour in Peep Show, written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, stems from the friendship between Mark, who dresses like a middle-aged man and holds down a sensible job as a loans manager and his flatmate, Jeremy Usbourne, played by Webb, a work-shy wannabe musician.

Liz Smith, who plays Nana in BBC1's The Royle Family, won best comedy actress.

It was also a good night for the BBC2 comedy music quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which was named best comedy entertainment programme. The show's presenter Simon Amstell won best entertainment personality, beating Stephen Fry, the host of another BBC2 quiz show, QI.

Fry was consoled with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to comedy.

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