Shake up the Perrier

Call for new categories

The Perrier awards could face a shake-up, with more winners every year.

Director Nica Burns has called for the prize to be reinvented now they are 25 years old, including possible new categories and a change in the rules.

She will canvas the opinion of comedy producers, agents and  critics this autumn to establish what the industry wants.

One of the main bones of contention is the definition of ‘star names’, who are barred from competition. But the rule allows well-established foreign acts to win, while a relatively minor TV appearance can rule out  British acts who most would not consider a star.

There have been calls for a separate international category to combat this, as well as distinct categories for stand-up and  other forms comedy. Barry Cryer has even jokingly suggested a "golden oldies" award.

At the start of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Ms Burns paid tribute ot the ‘huge, exciting, successful industry’ that has grown in the last 25 years, following the revolution in comedy that banished ‘homophobic, racist and sexist jokes’  from TV.

And  for the Perrier, she added: ‘It’s time  for a rethink. Shouldn't we be thinking about reinventing ourselves?

‘It's time to rethink, time to pick the rule book and throw it away, to come up with the awards we want for the next ten, twenty years.

‘Should there be more awards, and, if so, what should they be?’

This year's Perrier shortlist will be revealed on August 24 and the winner announced three days later.

As well as the main award – last year won by Will Adamsdale’s show Jackson’s Way, pictured, there is a newcomer award  for the best Fringe debut.


Published: 8 Aug 2005

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