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17 June 2014
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What is the Carleton Hobbs Bursary?
Carleton Hobbs Named after one of Radio’s most distinguished actors, the Carleton Hobbs initiative has been run by BBC Radio Drama every year since 1953, proudly reaching its 50th anniversary in 2003. Radio Drama’s two radio acting awards (see Norman Beaton Fellowship) are brought together under (((soundstart))), Radio Drama’s umbrella title for all its acting initiatives. (((soundstart))) was formally launched at London's National Theatre in July 2003, where, among starry company, we were delighted to welcome seven new actors to our Radio world - five Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award winners and two holders of the Norman Beaton Fellowship.

Radio Drama is particularly proud of its reputation for finding and encouraging those starting out on their professional actor lives. In its time, the competition has launched the careers of 184 outstanding graduating students. The Carleton Hobbs Bursary is aimed at students graduating from regular (or post-graduate) courses run by accredited drama schools across the country. Via the scheme, we look for distinctive, versatile radio voices to form a nucleus of new talent within the autumn season's Radio Drama Company. We believe that the Carleton Hobbs event offers a unique opportunity to new acting talent, and hope that it will continue to be important to schools and students alike.

The Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award complements the work which the BBC invests across the board in new writing and directing talent. With a wider share of information across Drama Units in Radio and on Television, the focus on being part of a bi-media environment is strong.

Winning a Bursary is not so much about the chance of gaining a job and a regular pay-cheque, but the opportunity of extending the students’ training in a unique acting environment - one where they’ll work with the best actors and writers in the country on a wide range of contemporary and classic plays.

You can read all about the winners of the 2014 Carleton Hobbs event here.

Who was Carleton Hobbs?
Carleton Hobbs worked on over 4000 radio pro-
ductions. He was the son of a Ma-
jor-General and served as a sol-
dier in the Great War. He trained at RADA.

His first theatre engagement was in 1924 in LON-
DON LIFE. He joined the newly-formed BBC Drama Repertory Company in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. He rapidly became a household name in what was con-
sidered the `Gol-
den Age’of Radio.

Loved by his peers, he was affectionately known as `Hobbo’. His most famous role was as `Sherlock Hol-
mes’ whose first radio appearance was in 1952 for Children’s Hour. By public de-
mand, this moved to an adult slot where it ran for 17 years.

Hobbo was a ra-
dio actor exem-
plifying that "less is more": he could communi-
cate a thinking feeling presence with very few words, and was famed for his use of silence.

He worked with film director Alfred Hitchcock, playing a small part in The 39 Steps.

On his death in 1978, the BBC’s Student Acting Prize, founded in 1953, was rena-
med The Carleton Hobbs Award to honour and com-
memorate one of Radio acting’s first great stars.