BBC Comedy

A search for the next generation of comedy talent has been launched in the North East of England.

Jesting About 2: Funny Gets Serious, a partnership between BBC North, BBC Comedy and Northern Film & Media, follows the success of last year’s inaugural initiative to find and develop the best comedy talent.

Launched on 2nd November at Newcastle comedy venue The Stand, Jesting About 2 will give performers, writers and filmmakers the opportunity to pitch comedy ideas, scripts and sketches to BBC commissioners.

Director of BBC North, Peter Salmon, speaking at the launch, said: “From Vic & Bob to Ross Noble to Sarah Millican, the North East knows how to make the UK laugh. Alongside our recent boost for Children’s Programmes here, with the likes of Tracy Beaker, we see comedy as being another key priority. The BBC believes it is important to invest in new talent and Jesting About is a great way for new comedians to develop.”

Jesters from all walks of life and levels of expertise, from budding stand ups to witty script writers, can submit their funniest ideas for TV and radio opportunities through the BBC Comedy website. Successful applicants will attend workshops and receive support from BBC commissioners and executive producers to develop their ideas into pilots.

BBC Comedy is inviting pilot sitcom sketches for BBC One and there is an opportunity to create a pilot for a weekly live comedy and entertainment series for BBC Three. Meanwhile, BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees are keen to discover new talent for a specially commissioned half hour pilot radio show.

Last year, successful applicants undertook a programme of workshops led by the likes of comedians Bob Mortimer and Ross Noble and writer Ian La Frenais (Porridge, Likely Lads, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet).

As a result of the programme, Sunderland-based Alex Collier’s animation ‘Vic Reeves’ Windiest Night’, based on the comedian’s memoirs, was commissioned for broadcast on BBC Comedy Online.

The initiative also enabled producer/director Bridget Deane to get her first ever TV comedy sitcom script optioned by Pett Productions, the indie run by Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Lisa Clark. Other successful applicants have since worked on shows including BBC’s Mock the Week, BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show and ITV2’s Celebrity Juice.

BBC Creative Head of Comedy, Simon London, said: “We are determined to discover new and authentic comedy voices across the UK and Jesting About is a fantastic opportunity to help us in our quest.”

Agnes Wilkie, Creative Director at Northern Film & Media said: “Jesting About has demonstrated what can be achieved with a well executed talent development programme. Jesting About 2 will engage with an even wider talent pool, drawing on the expertise of key comedy decision makers and creative leaders.”

Jesting About is supported by the ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13. The ERDF programme is bringing over £300 million into the North East to boost the region’s innovation, enterprise and business support services.

Entry forms should be sent to The closing deadline is noon on Monday 28th November and successful applicants will be announced on Friday 9th December 2011.

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  • ITV1
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  • Sky1