ITV has apparently paid £700,000 to produce this year’s British Comedy Awards – despite suspending the programme over the phoneline scandal.

TV bosses have refused to terminate their contract with producers Michael Hurll Television.

But, according to reports in The Sun, they will still be paying for the show and may even broadcast it after the event – a move that will prevent it being picked up by rivals Channel 4 and Sky.

In September, ITV was adamant that it would not be involved in this year’s show after alleged phone-voting irregularities at the 2005 event.

But a senior source for the channel said it had not ruled out showing this year’s awards during an independent investigation into allegations that viewers were encouraged to phone in after the voting had ended.

Jonathan Ross will host this year’s ceremony in London.

It’s thought that guests will include former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.