Duo stunned to learn Catherine Tate was the real winner of the People's Choice Award

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Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have returned their 2005 British Comedy Award after it emerged that they did not actually win the public vote.

The Catherine Tate Show was the real winner of the People’s Choice Award, according to an independent report by Olswang.

Yet viewers were still encouraged to phone in to vote for their favourite comedy show, despite the winner already being decided.

It’s believed the ‘fix’ was set up because special guest presenter Robbie Williams, 33, was promised he could award pals Ant and Dec a prize. None were aware of the scam.

‘Robbie Williams was invited to present an award,’ the report says. ‘It was understood that he would be happy [to do so] if the recipients were Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. In order to ensure his attendance, this assurance was given.

‘There is no suggestion that Robbie Williams, Anthony McPartlin or Declan Donnelly were aware of any of these issues.’

‘They are so upset and completely appalled,’ a spokesman for Ant and Dec, both 32, tells The Sun. ‘They have been lucky to win many awards and would never want to win one in this way.’

Media watchdog Ofcom has decided to fine ITV a whopping £5.68m for the failings in its premium rate phone lines.