Beano has launched its annual hunt for Britain's funniest primary school class.
The children's comic is calling on schools and teachers across the country to enter its Britain's Funniest Class competition, by submitting their best jokes and gags.
The most side-splitting jokes will be put to a public vote to decide the winning class and one class will be crowned winner and immortalised in a special edition of the comic.
The launch of this year's competition marks the 70th anniversary of The Bash Street Kids, which has led the charge on classroom comedy for the last seven decades.
Beano says: "The comic strip's characters, which include the likes of Plug, Danny, and Scotty, have been showcasing the Great British classroom and embracing a perfectly imperfect childhood from the very beginning."
Britain's Funniest Class, now in its sixth year, is billed as "championing the comedians of the future". It aims to encourage confidence and wellbeing in the classroom. Beano has partnered with charity, Place2Be to launch the competition and bring free resources to the classroom to "tackle the growing issue of children's mental health".
The school children crowned Britain's Funniest Class will be captured by Beano illustrators for inclusion in a special edition of the comic. It will be the very first time in the publication's history that a whole class of real-life children will be immortalised in the pages of a Bash Street Kids story.
Originally called When the Bell Rings, The Bash Street Kids was inspired by a Dundee school which was next to the offices of DC Thompson. The comic says: "70 years on, the characters continue to reflect the individuality and hilarity of British children, making them a great source of inspiration for Britain's Funniest Class, which this year has the theme 'Express Yourself'."
Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano, says: "We are absolutely thrilled to launch our biggest ever Britain's Funniest Class competition, whilst also celebrating our very own funniest class - The Bash Street Kids.
"The characters of class 2B, with all of their unique super-powers and flaws remind adults and children alike that it's great to be different. We hope that the Bash Street Kids inspire this year's entrants to express themselves and we can't wait to see all the incredible and hilarious jokes from classrooms across the UK."
Michelle Bates, Headteacher at Greasley Beauvale Primary School, winners of last year's Britain's Funniest Class, encourages teachers across the UK to enter the competition. She said: "The classroom and the school flourished when we rallied together as a team for the common goal of laughter. It was wonderful to see the classroom grow in confidence and creativity."
The comic is also on the hunt to discover Britain's Funniest Teacher for the first time, celebrating educators and the crucial role they play.
The competitions launch during Children's Mental Health Week. Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be, said: "We are really excited to join forces with the team at Beano to find Britain's Funniest Class, and get children laughing in every town in the UK. We know that having fun and laughter in the classroom encourages self-expression, confidence and can boost wellbeing so we're proud to be part of this year's initiative."
The Bash Street Kids anniversary edition of Beano is now on sale. A special serialisation has been created and features the fictional class calling for real kids to send in their joke submissions.
Britain's Funniest Class entries are open via beano.com/schools
The winner will be revealed on 22nd May 2024.