TV duo Ant and Dec have said they are ‘appalled’ after revelations that they had won an award that had been fixed by ITV bosses.

The popular Geordie lads – who are currently hosting Britain’s Got Talent – were given the People’s Choice gong at the British Comedy Awards in 2005, which really should have gone to comedian Catherine Tate.

But Ant and Dec ended up being given the prize because superstar Robbie Williams said he would only agree to attend the event if he could present an award to his close pals Ant and Dec.

At the time Robbie was invited, all the winners of the jury awards had already been selected � and the presenting duo had NOT been picked.

This meant that only the People’s Choice award was still up for grabs – and viewers voted for Catherine Tate.

But Robbie was still asked to present the award to Ant and Dec, reveals the report by lawyers Olswang.

On Thursday night, Ant and Dec angrily handed back the award, saying they were ‘upset and completely appalled’.

Ant and Dec’s spokesman said: “They have been lucky to win many awards and would never want to win an award in this way.”

The report said the promise to Robbie was “an assurance that could not legitimately have been guaranteed�. It added that there is no suggestion that Robbie – or Ant and Dec – were aware of “any of these issues”.

The scandal came to light as ITV was fined a record £5.67million by TV watchdog Ofcom over a string of vote-rigging scandals.

Hit shows, including Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, were shamed for vote-fixing in a damning report last October.

ITV were fined £3 million for that show, £1.2 million over Ant and Dec’s Gameshow Marathon and a further £1.2 million for Soapstar Superstar. ITV2 was also slapped with a £275,000 fine, again for vote-rigging.