It’s a Grand laugh

Patrick Kielty swaps Olympic torch carrying for appearing in Blackpool
Patrick Kielty swaps Olympic torch carrying for appearing in Blackpool
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Blackpool Grand Theatre is to host the live final of BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2012.

With previous finalists including Alan Carr, Sarah Millican and Marcus Brigstocke the competition will be focused on finding the freshest talent while helping aspiring comics launch their careers.

At the end of eight regional heats there will also be a chance for members of the public to vote online for their two favourites from eight runners-up chosen by the judges, who will then go through to the semi-finals in Newcastle and London.

The search will culminate in a live hour-long final at the Grand Theatre on November 8 compered by Patrick Kielty. As well as performances from the six finalists the event will include live music and stand-up from one of the award’s previous winners.

A panel of judges will be present on the night but the Radio 2 audience will pick the winner by voting online and via SMS.

The BBC New Comedy Award initially ran from 1995 to 2005. Last year Radio 2 and BBC Radio Comedy revived the award and put 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.

This year the BBC will be facilitating Learning Workshops in each of the eight cities (Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Brighton, London) working closely with local communities to engage those who are interested in comedy and performance.

Last year’s winner Angela Barnes said: “It is no way an exaggeration to say that winning the BBC New Comedy Award has changed my life.

“A year ago, stand-up comedy was my hobby. Now it’s my job. In the year since I’ve won I have written on my favourite radio show, played Latitude Festival and Laughs in The Park, and I’ve met Terry Wogan and Gary Barlow.

“If you had told me a year ago any of those things would have happened, I would have laughed in your face.”

The winner of the 2012 BBC New Comedy Award will receive £1,000 and the chance for a commission from BBC Radio Comedy. The winner will also have the opportunity to present to networks across the BBC and appear in other slots across the BBC as well as receiving development advice and guidance from the BBC Comedy Department.

Entrants need to apply through the Radio 2 website and fill in the web form and upload or email an mp3 of their work. Anyone who has special requirements and is unable to apply through the website should call 03700 100 200.

The closing date for entries is June 30. More information and application forms are available at