The British Comedy Awards has plucked the first winner out of the hat – and it’s the ITV2 comedy Plebs.
The show about a group of misfits from Ancient Rome has been named as the winner of the best new comedy programme award a full eight days before the December 12 ceremony.
The show which focuses on the hapless Marcus (Tom Rosenthal), his friend Stylax (Joel Fry) and their lazy slave Grumio (Ryan Sampson) saw off competition from BBC 2’s Count Arthur Strong, BBC Three’s Cuckoo and Sky Arts sketch show Psychobitches.
The news was welcomed by ITV which has already recommissioned the show for a second series. Angela Jain, director of digital channels and acquisitions for ITV said she was “chuffed to bits" at the win which was announced in last night's nominations show to help publicise the awards.
Plebs may win further awards come December 12 with Tom Basden, who co-wrote the show and also stars as Aurelius, nominated in the Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist category against The Last Leg’s Adam Hills, Count Arthur Strong’s Steve Delaney and Chickens’ Johnny Sweet.
Sam Leifer who co-wrote and directed the show alongside his brother Teddy who produced it said: “Our parents are in a bind: They’re deeply ashamed of this filth we’ve produced. But now it’s won an award they’ll feel compelled to brag about it. Either way, Plebs will be the true legacy of the Roman Empire”.
The "new comedy" award has spelled happy things for previous winners, which included the 2012 winner Sky’s Hunderby, C4’s Fresh Meat which won in 2011 and BBC comedy Miranda which took the crown in 2010.
The British Comedy Awards are hosted by Jonathan Ross and broadcast live on C4 with the climax being the naming of the King or Queen of Comedy.