BBC New Comedy Award winner 2018
I’m really proud that Radio 4 is able to provide a platform for exciting new comedians to launch their careers, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from all six finalists in the near futureSioned Wiliam, Commissioning Editor for Comedy, Radio 4
Six acts competed in the final of the competition, which was hosted by Mark Watson at the Edinburgh Fringe and broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday evening from 6.15pm. An expert panel of judges, comprised of Mark Steel, Rachel Parris and Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Comedy Sioned Wiliam, came together to crown the next winner. Lost Voice Guy, aka Lee Ridley, who won the award in 2014, returned to perform a special set on the night.
Scottish comic Stephen took his debut solo show to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, exploring his darkest fears, from commitment to children's literature. On winning the BBC New Comedy Award, Stephen says: “I’m really shocked, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It’s been an incredible experience to take part in this competition - to get to the final and actually win it was amazing. Shout out to my mum who was the one screaming all the way through."
Sioned Wiliam, BBC Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Comedy and judge of the BBC New Comedy Award final, says: “This year’s New Comedy Award finalists were all incredibly strong candidates, each with their own distinctive voice. All six performers were wholly deserving of their place in the final. In the end, Stephen impressed us with his wonderfully original material and professional style. It was a faultless performance and he is absolutely a worthy winner. I’m really proud that Radio 4 is able to provide a platform for exciting new comedians to launch their careers, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from all six finalists in the near future.”
Mark Watson, who once again hosted the final, says: “It was such a strong final and there’s a lot of pressure on all the acts because you’re live on Radio 4 and there’s a real sense of danger! All of the finalists dealt with it really well. Stephen had a great gig - he was really strong and a very popular winner.”
In addition to the much sought-after accolade, Stephen takes home £1,000 and a 15-minute script commission from BBC Studios. Stephen and his fellow finalists will also be mentored by the BBC Studios comedy team across the year and receive advice, guidance and the chance to write for and appear in slots across the BBC.
The BBC New Comedy Award exists to uncover the next big names in comedy, and its track record speaks for itself with previous winners and finalists including Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Mack, Sarah Millican, Russell Howard, Joe Lycett, Josie Long, and Nina Conti.
More than 600 hopefuls applied for this year’s competition, with just 50 making it through to one of the six regional heats held across London, Manchester and Cardiff in June. Ten of the best acts from the heats were put through to the semi-finals, also held at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Notes to Editors
The final will be available to listen back here shortly after broadcast.
Please contact BBCPictureDesk@bbc.co.uk for images.
The other five acts to make it through to the final, held at Fringe Venue #25, George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh, were Helen Bauer, William Stone, Sarah Mann, Isa Bonachera and Mamoun Elagab.
Helen Bauer: After leaving college with an E in Economics, Helen moved to London to share a bed with her cousin and work in a shop on Oxford Street. She later honed her comedy skills performing in English to confused Berlin locals.
William Stone: Brighton-based stand up William describes himself as "stuck somewhere between reality and dreams". His act offers glimpses into his world through whimsical oneliners and oblique observations.
Sarah Mann: Sarah began performing comedy in 2016, having made the natural transition from professional trombonist to comedian, and is a regular on the Oxford comedy scene.
Isa Bonachera: Spanish born Isa is a comedian, writer and cartoonist who performs regularly in the London circuit and around the UK. She is a member of the Soho Theatre Young Company, and one half of the sketch group Agenda Benders.
Mamoun Elagab: Mamoun is a young deadpan comic with a relaxed storytelling style, speaking about his experiences of contemporary multicultural Britain, using observations from everyday life and society.