British Comedy Awards host Jonathan Ross heaped more embarrassment on the event as it went ahead without being broadcast.

The controversy that has dogged the broadcasting industry over faked phone-ins and ITV’s decision to ‘suspend’ broadcast of Britain’s most watched awards after they were caught up in the scandal, dominated the night.

Jonathan, hosting the awards, joked to the audience: “Up until two days ago we were holding this event in an open prison. We’re still in the dock, but [Chris] Langham is free,” he said of the comedy actor, who was jailed for downloading child porn.

He added: “We don’t know for sure if this will ever go out or not so if you win an award this year, like most of the telephone votes it doesn’t really count and you will still be charged.”

The BBC DJ and chat-show host also made light of how much he was paid by the BBC saying: “I’m worth 1,000 BBC journalists,” and joked that at least he had not fled like ‘Ant and Dec’.

He said of the ceremony: “This year’s awards are going to be whiter than white. They’re whiter than Jim Davidson’s dream pub.”

He added that the votes this year had been thoroughly researched with the same forensic attention as a ‘Portuguese police investigation’.

Ross joked that TV bosses had cancelled the TV People’s Choice vote because they ‘believe people are scum and don’t care what they think’.