About the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award

The BBC New Comedy Awards ran from 1995-2005, and as arguably the most prestigious new talent competition in the UK, a staggering array of talent was discovered.

Past finalists include Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Mack, Julian Barratt, Marcus Brigstocke, Russell Howard, Rhod Gilbert, David O’Doherty, and Shappi Khorsandi. The last final, in 2005, was won by Tom Allen, with Sarah Millican and Edward Aczel finishing as runners-up:

New Comedy Award tag-line

The BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011 is a nationwide talent search to find the best in new stand-up comedy talent. The BBC New Comedy Awards ran on BBC One from 1995 - 2003, with the final held in Edinburgh every year. In 2003 - 2005 it ran as a radio event on BBC Radio 7 and was replaced in 2005 with Show Me The Funny, which placed emphasis on the search for sketch writers. BBC Radio 2 and 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. Applicants thinking of entering must meet the following criteria:

- you must have been performing on the stand up circuit for less than three years; and
- you must have at least seven minutes of un-broadcast material; and
- you must not have used this material on radio or television; and
- you must demonstrate an appreciation of comedy and a serious commitment to developing as a stand up comedian.

Hosted by Patrick Kielty, this show will find the best in new stand up talent from around the UK.

Countrywide heats will take place during April and May 2011. Successful applicants will be invited to perform at a heat closest to them from 8 venues around the country – there will be 10 heats (2 in London and Manchester). For more details about these, visit our heats page.

From the ten 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 ten runners-up will join the other semi-finalists. The online vote will open after the last heat has taken place, and will be open for one week.

Each semi-final will have 6 contestants and will be judged by an esteemed panel on the night – the judges will put through their top three contestants into the final. Both the semi-finals and final will be broadcast on Radio 2.

The BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011 will culminate in an as-live 60 minute final hosted by Patrick which, as well as performances from our 6 finalists, will include live music as well as stand-up from one of the esteemed previous winners of the award. A panel of judges will be present on the night, but the listening audience will pick the winner.

The competition launched on Steve Wright’s Radio 2 show during an interview with Patrick on Monday 28th February.

Previous Winners

Running from 1995-2005, the BBC New Comedy Awards has its share of famous (and not-so-famous) alumni...


Winner: Tom Allen
Runners Up: Sarah Millican, Edward Aczel
Finalists: Luke Roberts, James Branch, Aaron Counter


Winner: Andrew Lawrence
Runners Up: Danielle Ward, James Sherwood
Finalists: Liam Mullone, Jarleth Regan, David Nicholls


Winner: Rhod Gilbert
Runners Up: Steve Hall, Greg Cook
Finalists: Ava Vidal, Michael Anderson, Lloydy


Winner: Nina Conti
Finalists: Ninia Benjamin, Paul Kerensa, Gary Delaney, Stefano Paolini, Dylan, Bob Kobe, Karl Spain


Winner: Alan Carr
Finalists: Russell Howard, Justin Moorhouse, Rob Deering, Des Clarke, Jarred Christmas, Marcus Birdman, Keith Carter (Nige)


Winner: Jason John Whitehead
Finalists: Shappi Khorsandi, Des McLean, Anthony J Brown, Angie McEvoy, Paddy Bramwells, Billy Dufus, Alan Hulcoop


Winner: Josie Long
Finalists: David O'Doherty, Colin Ward, Marc Small, Matthew Walters, Scott Pragnall, Steve Harris


Winner: Dan Antopolski
Finalists: Dan Tetsell, Rhodri Cooks, Carrie Quinlan, Mary Bourke, Tony Coffey, Danny Oakes, Helen Pilcher


Winner: Paul Foot
Finalists: Justin Lee Collins, Peter Kay, Bennett Aaron, Craig Crookston, Neil Anthony, Gareth Hughes, Deirdre O'Kane


Winner: Marcus Brigstocke, Jenny Ross (joint winners)
Finalists: Chris Addison, Alan Doyle, Addy Borgh, Neil Bromley, Marian Kilpatrick, Bob May


Winner: Julian Barratt
Finalists: Daniel Kitson, Lee Mack, Silky, Viv Gee, Jeff Mirza, Ambrose Martose

The New Comedy Award

More information about the New Comedy Award in 2012 coming soon. To be the first to hear details, follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook Page.


The BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2011 was a nationwide search to find the best in new stand-up comedy talent. Find out more.


Watch videos from the 2011 Award.

From the NCA Blog

The New Comedy Award 2012 final at the Blackpool Grand Theatre kicks off at 8pm on BBC...Read more


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