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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Bob Mortimer reveals Jesting About results to BBC Newcastle listeners

Speaking to BBC Newcastle's Alfie and Charlie at Breakfast this morning (February 10), North East comedian Bob Mortimer revealed the results of a region-wide search to find new comedy talent.

More than 200 entries were submitted for Jesting About – a multi-platform initiative aimed at finding the next generation of North East jesters, set up in partnership between BBC North/BBC Vision North and screen agency Northern Film & Media.

From these entries, 24 individuals will now be taken forward for development opportunities.

The successful applicants were selected by a panel of BBC commissioners and creative leads including Jon Mountague, Executive Producer BBC Comedy North, Martin Trickey, Commissioning Executive BBC Comedy Multiplatform, Will Saunders, Executive Producer BBC Comedy and internationally renowned writer Ian La Frenais (Porridge, Likely Lads, Auf Weidersehen Pet).

Chosen candidates vary from BAFTA award-winning film-maker Bridget Deane (Channel 4, Wife Swap) from Newcastle, who has made her own swap from director to writer and has already written for Emmerdale, to friends Dave Metcalf, Jamie McLeish and Andrew Kirkwood from Sunderland, who by day are two civil servants and an assistant accountant, respectively.

Bob Mortimer said: "When I launched Jesting About in December last year, I said that some of the funniest people I have ever met are from the North East and judging from the hundreds of comedy ideas, scripts and sketches that have been sent it seems that I was right. There's been a great response and now it's time to get down to business and turn the ideas into reality."

Helen Bullough, Head of BBC Vision North, said: "We're absolutely delighted at the enthusiasm with which Jesting About has been greeted throughout the North East – across the board, from experienced writers and comedians to those who are new to the comedy scene. We're looking forward to working with as many of them as possible."

Agnes Wilkie, Creative Industry Director, Northern Film & Media, said: "Jesting About has unearthed a number of bright new acts and connected the North East's most exciting comedy talent with the BBC. This kind of partnership demonstrates a real commitment to the region and provides a structured framework to develop TV, radio and online comedy talent."

Over the next two months, the successful applicants will receive seed corn funding, mentoring, workshops and support from industry experts including Bob Mortimer, Ross Noble, Ian La Frenais and Susan Nickson to help develop their ideas into pilots.

All candidates will be supported to produce their work for a final Jesting About showcase taking place on 20 April in Newcastle, giving commissioning editors a real flavour of local talent and putting a spotlight on North East as a centre for new comedy.

Successful candidates span the North East region, including submissions from Gateshead, Guisborough, Newcastle, South Shields, Stockton on Tees, Sunderland and Whitley Bay.

The full list can be seen below.

TV Team Writing – developing a pilot script for a BBC One sitcom:

Karen Laws (Newcastle)
Bridget Deane (Newcastle)
Keith Brumpton (Newcastle)
Paul Christian (Preston, studied in Newcastle)
Christopher Stanners (Newcastle)

Radio – creating a half hour radio sketch show for BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees:

Gavin Webster (Newcastle)
John Scott (Newcastle)
Holly Burn (Newcastle)
Dave Metcalf, Andrew Kirkwood and Jamie McLeish (Sunderland)
Rob Gilroy (Gateshead)
Nitin Kundra (Newcastle)
Trevor Fox and Joe Caffrey (Newcastle)
Will and Owen Cooper (Newcastle)


Nick Lewis (Whitley Bay)
James Harris and Ben Klimmeck (Guisborough)
Alex Collier (Sunderland)
Claire Storey Lambert representing Dene Films (Newcastle)
Lee Fenwick (South Shields)
James Boughen (Stockton on Tees)


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