Jonathan Ross pulls out of hosting British Comedy Awards

Jonathan Ross at 2007 British Comedy Awards

Jonathan Ross at 2007 British Comedy Awards. Photograph: Rex Features

Jonathan Ross is to step down from presenting this year's British Comedy Awards following the 'Sachsgate' affair.

Although he is only suspended from BBC shows for his part in the prank calls to actor Andrew Sachs, Ross decided not to go ahead with fronting the ITV1 show in December "with the agreement of ITV".

A spokesman for Ross said: "It's a show he very much enjoys being part of but would not want his participation in this year's event to take away from the awards themselves or the many talented winners of the awards."

The ITV director of television, Peter Fincham, added: "We respect Jonathan's decision to stand down from the 2008 British Comedy Awards which has been made with the full support of ITV and the show's producers."

This year's British Comedy Awards are due to take place on December 6, returning to ITV1 having not been broadcast last year while the broadcaster investigated allegations about problems with a phone vote for the 2005 event.

Ross has presented the British Comedy Awards for independent production company Michael Hurll Television for the past 17 years.

The presenter has come to epitomise the edgy awards ceremony with his famously controversial introduction and links.

An ITV spokesman said it is not yet known who will replace Ross.

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Jonathan Ross pulls out of hosting British Comedy Awards

This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Friday October 31 2008. It was last updated at 17.51 on October 31 2008.

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