The stand-up competition for new acts, which nowadays has its final rounds broadcast on Radio 4, has a strong track record of locating comedy stars of the future. The BBC explains: "The BBC New Comedy Award offers new talent a springboard into the world of comedy and the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of some of the UK's top comics, with past winners and finalists including Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Mack, Sarah Millican, Russell Howard, Joe Lycett, Josie Long, and Nina Conti."
Recent winners include 2011's Angela Barnes, who took over as host of Radio 4 Extra's Newsjack earlier this year; 2012's Lucy Beaumont, whose second series of To Hull And Back aired on Radio 4 last year; 2013's Steve Bugeja who has supported Russell Kane on his tour and contributed material to a number of BBC TV and Radio comedy shows; and 2015's Yuriko Kotani, who recently made her TV acting debut in Pls Like on BBC Three.
The winner of the BBC New Comedy Award 2017 will take home £1000 and a 15 minute script commission from BBC Studios. All finalists will be mentored by the BBC Studios comedy team across the year and receive advice, guidance and the chance to write for and appear in slots across the BBC.
Lee Ridley gets sitcom series
It has just been announced that 2014 winner Lee Ridley - also known as Lost Voice Guy - has been given a full series commission for his radio sitcom Ability, following on from the pilot he made last year. The comedy weaves his real-life experience of living with cerebral palsy and speaking via a communication aid into a sitcom.
Lee Ridley says: "Winning the BBC New Comedy Award was a life changing moment for me, it was when I finally realised I might just be funny after all! Obviously, it was also the beginning of my radio comedy career, and I'm delighted that Ability has been commissioned for a whole series. I had so much fun working on the pilot episode with lots of talented people, so I can't wait to start work on the rest."
How to enter the BBC New Comedy Award 2017
The competition is open to comedians aged 18 or over who have not been performing regularly on the circuit for more than five years.
To enter, comedians are required to submit a five minute comedy routine via the BBC website before the Thursday 4th May closing date.
The best 60 entries will be selected for six regional heats, taking place across June and July in locations in London, Manchester and Cardiff, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra.
Radio 4's Sioned Wiliam says: "The New Comedy Award has an extraordinary record of choosing the stars of the future. I'm really looking forward to hearing voices from all over Britain competing for this highly prized award."