Company fined 45K after Ant and Dec’s award ‘win’

Ant and Dec’s incorrect naming as the People’s Choice winners at the 2005 British Comedy Awards has cost producer Channel TV £45,000.

Regulator Ofcom imposed the fine after a prize-fix incident at the ITV1 awards in which Ant and Dec were given their award even though the Catherine Tate Show received the highest number of votes.

The production team overrode the popular vote, but Ofcom said it could not reach a decision as to why.

The watchdog said it was ‘frustrated by the lack of co-operation it received from some people involved in the production’ of the two shows.

It had also been given conflicting stories about the substitution of winners.

One theory suggested singer Robbie Williams would appear only on condition he was presenting an award to Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

It was also suggested the switch could have been at the instruction of the production team, a phone provider or after comments made by ITV.

Channel TV was also fined £35,000 for the appeals to viewers to continue voting even though polling had closed as the shows, in both 2004 and 2005, had already been recorded.

Channel TV admitted that the error, which occurred two years running, was ‘entirely unintentional but nonetheless stupid’.

But Ofcom said: “These breaches were entirely foreseeable and were serious, reckless and repeated. The fact that the same failing was repeated a year later was of great concern to Ofcom.”