YES! We are BACK - bigger, better and totally over-excited.
The BBC New Comedy 2012 launched today on Steve Wright's show on Radio 2 - we are now up and running and open for submissions. Visit bbc.co.uk/radio2/comedy/new-comedy-award-2012/
We relaunched the BBC New Comedy Award last year in 2011, and we had such an amazing experience - we were absolutely bowled over by the response from all of the new stand-up talent around the UK. The standard of entries was incredibly high, and the acts we worked with throughout the heats, semi-finals and final were an absolute joy. Many of the people that you saw appear throughout the process we continue to work with now.
Angela Barnes was our winner in 2011, and she's gone on to have a fantastic year - securing Agent Representation with one of the UK's biggest talent agencies and performing on a number of programmes - "Laughs in the Park" (BBC2), "It's All About Me" (ITV1), "Children in Need 30th Anniversary Gala" (BBC Radio 2), "Russell Kane's Summer Seaside Tour" (BBC Radio 2), "Weekend Wogan" (BBC Radio 2), "BBC Comedy Presents...Edinburgh 2011" (BBC Radio 4), "Laughs In The Park" (BBC Radio 1) and has just recorded an upcoming appearance on "Russell Howard's Good News" (BBC3).
Since winning, Angela has been able to give up her job as a Social worker and is concentrating on her comedy career full time. She's written on "The News Quiz" for Radio 4 and "Newsjack" for Radio 4 Extra, and is currently developing her own radio series with BBC Radio Comedy.
Angela Barnes on the Comedy Carpet, Blackpool
Our other finalists are all also doing well - Joe Lycett co-hosted "Epic Win" on BBC1, he's appeared on "8 Out of 10 Cats" and "Celebrity Deal or No Deal" on C4, "The Dirty Digest" and "Show and Tell" on E4 and he'll be performing his debut Edinburgh show at the Edinburgh festival this year. Pat Cahill went on to win New Act of the Year 2012 (formerly Hackney Empire New Act of the Year) and Chortle Best Newcomer 2012, he has just recently recorded some content for BBC Comedy Online - and he will also be taking a show to the Edinburgh festival this year.
I hope they, and all of the others that took part, are shining examples that taking part can reap positive rewards.
Our entry process is a little easier this year - we still want 5 minutes of audio of you performing your stand up routine, but this year you can upload this through the Radio 2 website where you'll need to fill out an online application form - then we'll do the listening and let you know if you make it through to the heats which will take place around the UK.
So - what are we looking for? YOU! If you think you could be the next big thing in stand-up talent. Maybe you've always wanted to try your hand at performing stand up but haven't quite taken the leap, or perhaps you have been performing for a couple of years. As long as you haven't been performing on the live circuit regularly for more than 3 years then we want to hear from you. You could be a one liner gag merchant, a story teller or more of a set up and punch line type of comic. You could be political, topical, a character stand up, you might be musical, whimsical or just totally tropical - whichever it is get to bbc.co.uk/radio2 and apply!