John Grisham has been recognised for his contribution to the literary world with a prize for lifetime achievement at the British book awards.

Other winners at the ceremony in London included comedians Peter Kay for best biography with The Sound of Laughter and Ricky Gervais for the best children's book with his offering Flanimals of the Deep.

However, despite the award for Grisham, author of The Pelican Brief and The Firm, it was Gervais and host Richard Madeley who attracted most attention.

Shortly after the popular comedian was announced as the winner in the children's book of the year category, Madeley went to a video link to hear from the man himself.

A joking Gervais alluded to the ongoing controversy over premium rate television phone lines, which are currently being investigated by the regulator Ofcom.

The comic said: "This is voted for by the public, isn't it? Well, tell them to stop voting now because otherwise it will be another phone con."

An angry Madeley then proceeded to rant at Gervais, telling him to "f*** off" before slamming him for being an "ungrateful f***ing b*****d".

The Richard and Judy Show is one of those programmes at the centre of the row over premium phone rates, with the investigation launched after it emerged viewers were still being encouraged to call in to enter a quiz when the participants had already been selected.

29/03/2007 09:29:33