Press Office

Thursday 27 Nov 2014

Press Release

Radio 2 announces winner of New Comedy Award 2011

Talented new comedians were aplenty last night as Patrick Kielty hosted the grand final of the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011 live from The Tabernacle in Notting Hill, London. Competition was fierce amongst the six finalists, but in the end, Angela Barnes from Maidstone, Kent (now living in Brighton) was crowned the winner by a public vote.

The finalists – Pat Cahill, Chris Turner, Tez Ilyas, Angela Barnes, Joe Lycett and Mark Restuccia – were critiqued by a panel of professionals: Sarah Millican, who was a previous BBC New Comedy Award finalist, Stephen K Amos, Jane Berthoud (Head of Radio Comedy) and Lewis Carnie (Head of Programmes for Radio 2 and 6 Music). But ultimately it was the public who voted to decide the winner. To see highlights from the night and Angela's performance, visit the Radio 2 website.

As well as the coveted trophy, Angela has won the opportunity to perform a slot in Radio 2's Comedy Zone. And she will also be interviewed by Steve Wright during the Comedy Hour on Radio 2's upcoming 2DAY on the Wednesday 22 June. Angela will also receive development advice and guidance from BBC Radio Comedy and the possibility of appearing on other slots on BBC Radio.

Angela said: "This is a massive privilege and the fact it was a public vote makes it all the more special. It's been an amazing journey with brilliant people and I hope this will open some doors and I look forward to gigging with my fellow finalists on the comedy circuit."

Patrick Kielty said: "Angela tonight came out and impressed again. It's one thing to win a heat but to come out here with fresh material and the confidence that she had tonight set her apart, and the great British public agreed. But I have to say all of our six finalists will have a big future in comedy."

The competition was open to any act over 18 years of age who has been performing on the comedy circuit as a stand-up for less than three years. From over 600 entries, the six lucky finalists had beaten their way through hotly contested regional heats and the semi-finals. But it was Angela who really wowed Radio 2 listeners and the esteemed expert panel in the grand final, and ultimately won the prestigious award.

The initial entries were shortlisted down to a top 100 who were invited to take part in regional heats in London, Brighton, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Belfast. A judging panel selected one act from each heat to go from the heats to the semi-finals. And two further acts from the heats were selected to go through to the semis by the general public via an online vote. The semi-finals were held at the Komedia in Bath and Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, where judges took the 12 down to just six finalists.

The BBC New Comedy Award originally ran from 1995 to 2001, and previous 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 Mack, Russell Howard, Justin Lee Collins, and Julian Barratt.

The BBC New Comedy Award was revived this year by Radio 2 and BBC Radio Comedy to seek out the best new talent in stand-up comedy today. Radio 2 has a long history of bringing great comedy to its listeners, and earlier this year triumphed at the Sony Radio Academy Awards with the Gold comedy prize going to The Jason Byrne Show which aired on Radio 2 in 2010. Currently the station has regular presenters Alan Carr, Graham Norton, and Paul O'Grady hosting their own shows and occasional presenters include French and Saunders, Patrick Kielty, Miranda Hart and Jon Holmes. The BBC has always been keen to nurture fresh comedic talent, and this award is a great opportunity for budding comedians to perform to industry professionals.

Notes to Editors

2DAY is a special day of programming on Wednesday 22 June when Radio 2 shakes up its schedule for a 12-hour celebration of some of the wonderful things the station has to offer. Steve Wright will interview the winner of the Radio 2 New Comedy Award during the 2DAY Comedy Hour (5-6pm).


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