Top banana

Conti's monkey act scoops BBC title

Nina Conti has won this year's BBC New Comedy Award.

The ventriloquist daughter of actor Tom Conti takes home £2,000, plus the chance to work further with the BBC, after taking the title at the Edinburgh Festival.

Nina, 27, who has only been performing with her monkey puppet for eight months, said she was "amazed and grateful" to take the title.

Jimmy Tarbuck, who hosted Monday night's final at the George Square Theatre, said: "It's smashing for someone who's only been going for such a short time - she is a very worthy winner.

"It was very difficult for the judges, as the standard was so high."

Character act Chris Tysdall, 32, who performs as Dylan, and English-Italian stand-up Stefano Paolini, 25, were both named runners-up, scooping £1,000 apiece.

Others competing in the final, beating the hundreds of hopefuls who entered, were Paul Kerensa, Gary Delaney, Karl Spain, Ninia Benjamin and Bob Kobe.

Judges included impressionist Ronni Ancona, The Office's Mackenzie Crook and BBC comedy supremo Jon Plowman.

The final, co-hosted by Jenny Eclair, will be aired on BBC1 on September 7.

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Published: 12 Aug 2002

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