An investigation by the British broadcasting industry regulator OfCom has found that Doctor Who star Catherine Tate was unfairly denied the People's Choice Award at the 2005 British Comedy Awards, screened on the ITV network. The recipient of the award was to have been decided by a telephone vote from viewers.
BBC News reports that even though Tate won the most votes in the category, the prize was given to presenting duoAnt and Dec. This was done because pop star Robbie Williams had agreed to attend the ceremony and present a prize, but would only do so if it could be for Ant and Dec. As they had not won any of the jury-decided categories, it was decided that they should win the audience award to ensure Williams's attendance.
The Times quotes a spokesman for Tate as saying that the actress was an "innocent bystander" in the matter, and had no desire to comment. Ant and Dec have said that they will return their award, which will presumably now be given to Tate.