David does it!

O'Doherty, Millican scoop if.comedies

David O'Doherty has scooped this year’s if.comedy award – the highest accolade at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The 33-year-old Irishman collected his award – worth £8,000 – from Clive James and 2007 winner Brendon Burns at a ceremony tonight.

Sarah Millican, the Geordie stand-up who started comedy in 2005, was named best newcomer, and takes home £4,000.

The judges decided not to award a panel prize embodying the spirit of the Fringe to one act – but decided to give it to every comedian performing at the Fringe.

A spokesman for the awards said: ‘In a year when there's been much discussion about the true spirit of the Fringe it is undoubtedly all the comedians working on the Fringe this year who embody that spirit.

‘So to honour them, their talents, their spirit and their drive to become good comedians the  Panel Prize goes to all of them.

‘The money will spent on an end of the festival party on Monday night . Venue to be announced.’

Awards producer Nica Burns said: ‘After one of the longest, most animated debates the panel finally chose from this very strong shortlist a comedian whose work can only be summed up as utterly delightful. A

‘An hour with David O'Doherty fills the world with laughter and charm and sends you home on a wave of happiness. All four nominees presented shows which combined outstanding material and performance. They could not have been more different from each other, and are all well on their way to being household names.

‘Sarah Millican is an outstanding young female stand up with a great command of the audience, excellent material and a charming persona. She delivers an evening of laughs.’

The other nominees for the 2008 award, formerly known as the Perrier were Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler for Double Down Hearts, Rhod Gilbert for the Award-winning Mince Pie and Russell Kane for Gaping Flaws. The other nominees for best newcomer were Mike Wozniak and Pippa Evans.

Winners and nominees will now perform at the Apollo Theatre in London's West End in October.

O'Doherty first stepped on stage at Dublin's Comedy Cellar in 1998. In 1999 he won Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny award for new comedians and was runner-up in the BBC New Comedy Awards. He made his solo debut at the Fringe in 2000 and his 2006 show David O'Doherty Is My Name was also nominated for the if.comedy award.

This year’s judging panel was chaired by Bruce Dessau, comedy critic of the London Evening Standard. The panel was Tim Arthur from Time Out magazine, Julian Hall from The Independent, Victoria Payne from TalkbackThames, BBC TV comedy producer Karen Rosie. BBC radio’s head of comedy Paul Schlesinger, freelance journalust Jonathan Trew, and comedy fans Rosanna Bond, Alison Leitch and Jude Stone.

Here are the awards being handed out:

Published: 24 Aug 2008

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