Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

So, It's Graham Norton; SURVEY TO FIND 50 MOST POWERFUL IN BRITISH COMEDY KNOCKS GERVAIS OFF TOP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

So, It's Graham Norton; SURVEY TO FIND 50 MOST POWERFUL IN BRITISH COMEDY KNOCKS GERVAIS OFF TOP

Article excerpt

Byline: NDR PAINE

GRAHAM NORTON has been crowned the new king of TV comedy. The camp comedian and presenter deposed Ricky Gervais as number one on the list of the 50 most powerful people in UK television comedy.

It follows Irish-born Norton's [pounds sterling]5million defection from Channel 4, where he has been presenting his V Graham Norton Show, to BBC1. He will join in April and work on ideas for Saturday night shows. He also has a US deal said to be worth [pounds sterling]5 million.

The Radio Times top 50 is based on TV ratings, critical reaction, financial success, comedy track record and the views of industry experts. The number one position marks an extraordinary rise for the 40-year-old, who only started his risque chat and comedy show on Channel 4 in 1997.

He found fame as a stand-up comic and caught the attention of TV producers with a cameo in sitcom Father Ted. Radio Times said: "Having borrowed the American late-night chat show format and made it his own, he is now exporting it back across the Atlantic."

Last year Norton was number three in the list but has now swapped positions with Gervais, top last year thanks to his role as David Brent in The Office.

That show is to be adapted for American TV without Gervais, who was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for best comedy actor. He is working on two new comedy series.

LEAPFROGGING Gervais at number two is Peter Kay. His Phoenix Nights series, about the fortunes of a northern club and its wheelchair-bound owner, was a ratings hit on Channel 4 and huge seller on DVD.

Presenter Jonathan Ross takes fourth place. Channel 4's Friday Night With Jonathan Ross was recently named best comedy entertainment programme at the British Comedy Awards.

Royle Family star and comedy writer Craig Cash has shot up to number six, thanks to his promising BBC2 sitcom Early Doors. He is flanked by BBC1 controller Lorraine Heggessey at five and her BBC2 counterpart Jane Root at seven.

Both are credited with developing TV comedy.

1. (3) Graham Norton - camp comic newly signed to BBC 2. (15) Peter Kay - played multiple roles in Phoenix Nights 3. (1) Ricky Gervais - co-writer of The Office, and David Brent 4. (10) Jonathan Ross - irreverent chat show host 5. (=4) Lorraine Heggessey - BBC1 controller 6. (45) Craig Cash - Royle Family co-writer has a new show, Early Doors 7. (=4) Jane Root - BBC2 controller 8. (6) Peter Fincham - boss of Talkback Thames, behind Ali G and Never Mind The Buzzcocks 9. (2) Steve Coogan - Alan Partridge 10. (new) Matt Lucas and David Walliams - behind new comedy sketch show Little Britain 11. …

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