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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011 launches today

BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011

Today, Steve Wright announced the launch of the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011, a nationwide search for the best new stand-up comedy talent in the UK.

Steve Wright launched the search on his afternoon show on Radio 2. He was joined by Patrick Kielty who will present the semi-finals and the grand final of the Award which is now open for submissions until Sunday 27 March.

The BBC New Comedy Award initially ran from 1995 to 2005. This year, Radio 2 and BBC Radio Comedy are reviving the Award and putting the spotlight back on seeking out the best new stand-up comedy talent, with a new format and, for the first time, including audience interactivity.

For anyone who thinks that they could be just what the world of stand up needs, this could be the opportunity they've been waiting for. Previous BBC New Comedy Award finalists have gone on to become some of the biggest and most successful names in comedy today – Alan Carr (winner, 2001), Rhod Gilbert (winner, 2003), Josie Long (winner, 1999), Marcus Brigstocke (winner, 1996), Peter Kay, Lee MackRussell Howard, Justin Lee Collins, Sarah Millican and Julian Barratt.

Steve Wright said: "Just taking a look at the roll call of previous BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award winners and finalists should be all the encouragement anyone needs if they're thinking about entering. So go on, give it a go and send us five minutes of your best material. Thanks to Radio 2, you could be the comedy talent the nation has been waiting for!"

The grand final will be presented by Patrick Kielty and broadcast on Radio 2 on Saturday 18 June. The prize for this year's winner is the opportunity to perform a slot in Radio 2's Comedy Zone.

The winner will also receive development advice and guidance from BBC Radio Comedy and the possibility of appearing on other slots on BBC Radio, including an interview on Steve Wright In The Afternoon which currently reaches almost 7 million listeners. The process will include audience interactivity by giving the public a unique opportunity to adjudicate the acts and help the judging panels select the UK's next generation of comedy talent.

Patrick Kielty, said: "Trying to make it as a stand-up comic can be a scary ride, but it can also be brilliant fun. The BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who thinks this could be their true calling. And if you don't take the plunge you'll never know."

The BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011 is open for submissions from Monday 28 February until Sunday 27 March. To take part, entrants must submit five minutes of audio material. More information and application forms are available at or by calling 03700 100 200.

A production panel will then select those who will go on to the next stage, a series of regional heats across the UK. Here the entrants will perform their act in front of a local audience and an expert judging panel. Highlights will be available on the website.

From the 10 countrywide heats, 12 acts will go through to the semi-finals, but just one person from each heat will be selected by the judges on the night. One runner-up from each heat will also be chosen to go through to an online audience vote which will open after the final heat has taken place.

The public will then decide which two acts from these 10 runners-up will go on to the semi finals. From here, six acts will make it through to the final to be broadcast on Radio 2 on Saturday 18 June. This stage will also feature an audience vote, alongside the judging panel, to help select the winner.

As well as hosting the semi finals audience vote, the Award website will feature filmed highlights of the heats, bonus audio material, information about the judges and contestants and past winners, plus message boards for the public to get involved and post their views on the participants. And there will be blogs and expert advice from Patrick Kielty, former winners and comedy producers at the forefront of the industry.

The regional heats will take place in:

London – Tuesday 26 April – Tattershall Castle
Brighton – Wednesday 27 April – The Komedia
Birmingham – Monday 2 May – Cheeky Monkey
Cardiff – Wednesday 4 May – Glee Club
Glasgow – Monday 9 May – Glasgow Highlights
Newcastle – Tuesday 10 May – The Hyena Comedy Club
Manchester – Monday 16 May – Manchester Comedy Store
Belfast – Tuesday 17 May – The Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club

The semi-finals will take place on 3 and 10 June. The final will be on Saturday 18 June. Locations and venues will be announced nearer the time.

The BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011 is open to any act, aged 18 years or over, who has been performing on the comedy circuit as a stand-up for less than three years. They must submit five minutes of original and un-broadcast material – but must have seven minutes in total available for use in future rounds – and must not have performed this material on television. Full terms and conditions are on the website.

For further information, please see

BBC Radio 2 has a long history of bringing great comedy to audiences. The network has regular presenters Alan Carr, Graham Norton and Paul O'Grady, plus French and Saunders who presented three shows at Christmas and New Year 2010.

Comedy highlights of the past few months in the regular Saturday night slot at 10-11pm include Rhod Gilbert's Bulging Barrel Of Laughs, The Jason Byrne Show, Jimmy Carr's Comedy Cuts and HQ with Roy Hudd and David Quantick.

Notes to Editors

  • Locations of the heats and semi finals are subject to change.
  • The final round of the competition will be broadcast as live but will incorporate a 30-minute time delay. The results show will be broadcast live later the same night, on Saturday 18 June.
  • During the final, telephone lines will be open for a public vote with the winner announced in the live results show.


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