Mirren hails rise of female comics
Dame Helen Mirren has praised the rise of women in the world of comedy.
The Oscar-winning actress - who presented Have I Got News For You with a lifetime achievement gong at the British Comedy Awards - said she was a huge fan of female comics.
Helen said: "I think British comedy is in an incredible spot right now.
"There have always been great female comedians but there has been a real rise in modern female comics.
"It is brilliant to see Miranda recognised. I have always been a huge fan of her - and Jo Brand. They are wonderful. There are some really talented women coming, which is very exciting to see."
Another fan of Jo, who was nominated for queen or king of comedy, is Apprentice star Nick Hewer, soon to be the new host of Countdown.
He confided backstage: "I love Miranda deeply. And I am hoping to elope with Jo Brand. I think I'm getting near with Jo Brand."
Nick added that while Countdown is not a comedy show, he hoped his presenting style would "occasionally crack a smile".