Usual host Jonathan Ross has pulled out of hosting this year’s British Comedy Awards because of his role in the Radio 2 phone prank scandal.

The TV presenter has stepped down ‘with the agreement of ITV1 following his three-month BBC suspension for making offensive calls to Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs.

A spokesman for Jonathan told The Guardian: “It’s a show he very much enjoys being part of, but would not want his participation in this year’s event to take away from the awards themselves or the many talented winners of the awards.”

Jonathan has presented the British Comedy Awards for 17 years and it is not yet known who will replace him when the ceremony takes place on December 6.

The ITV Director of Television, Peter Fincham, added: “We respect Jonathan’s decision to stand down from the 2008 British Comedy Awards, which has been made with the full support of ITV and the show’s producers.”

Jonathan made a public apology on Wednesday for the ‘juvenile and thoughtless remarks’ on the Russell Brand radio show and faces an estimated 1.5 million pounds in lost earnings during his suspension.