Radio 2 revives comedy award

BBC Radio 2 is reviving the corporation's New Comedy Award and is searching for the nation's next big stand-up talent.

Listeners will get to help pick the winner in a phone-in vote during the final of the competition later in the year – the winner will get a chance to perform on the station's Comedy Zone.

The BBC New Comedy Award initially ran from 1995 to 2005 and previous winners include Alan Carr, Rhod Gilbert, Marcus Brigstocke, Lee Mack, Russell Howard and Justin Lee Collins.

Radio 2 presenter Steve Wright made the announcement on his show earlier and 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. As well as a slot on the 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.

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."

Entrants with less than three years' experience on the stand-up circuit can enter up until 27 March by submitting five minutes of audio material. 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. 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.

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