King of the Beeb

Lawrence takes BBC new comic title

Andrew Lawrence has been named as the best new comedian in the country after scooping the BBC’s annual stand-up competition.

The 24-year-old former library worker won the title at London’s Comedy Store last night with his stylised dark, whiney songs about his miserable upbringing.

The final, hosted by Robin Ince, will air on digital radio station BBC7, with a documentary about the talent hunt, which attracted 800 entrants, is destined for Radio 4.

Runners-up were topical comic James Sherwood, and off-the-wall Danielle Ward, with a routine mainly about Siamese twins.

The BBC New Comedy title is not the first accolade for Lawrence, who made his comedy debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001, as he was named runner-up in Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny? at this year’s festival.

He receives a £2,000 prize and given a chance to develop his writing with the BBC.

He said: “It was a really strong final, all the acts were really good and it was a tight competition. I’m delighted and surprised to have won.”

Judge Jon Pidgeon, head of BBC radio entertainment, said of Lawrence: “I wrote notes about everyone else, Marcus [Brigstocke, another judge] made notes about everyone else, but neither of us had made notes of Andrew’s performance which is telling of his spellbinding and totally mesmerising performance. To have that kind of command over the room at his age is astonishing.”

Don Ward, owner of The Comedy Store, was so impressed by all six finalists, also including David Nicholls, Liam Mulone and Jarlath Regan, that he offered them all coveted ten-minute slots at the club.

The semi-finals of the awards are currently being aired on BBC7 on Monday nights, or available at any time through the Listen Again service.

Published: 14 Dec 2004

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