The BBC has launched a competition to find the next generation of comedians.
The broadcaster has enlisted top comedians David Walliams, Adil Ray, and Kerry Howard, among others, to encourage school pupils aged 13 to 15 years to start writing original comedy material. Entered under one of three categories - Stand-up, Sketch, and Caption - the best material will be filmed and broadcast by the BBC later this year.
“I was 12 when I first started writing and performing comedy sketches in my school," says Walliams. "They were simple spoofs of TV shows at the time, but immediately I discovered that there’s no better feeling in the world than making people laugh."
As well as promoting the campaign, the group of comedians has contributed to a class pack for teachers. Created in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, the pack includes ideas on how to integrate the competition into the national curriculum.
“Our research shows that young people don’t enjoy writing as much as they enjoy reading," says director of the National Literacy Trust, Jonathan Douglas. "We believe that introducing them to comedy writing can change that. Comedy harnesses many key writing skills to create laughs and can be a great asset in the classroom.”
Winners of each category will be invited along to the BBC to watch their work come to life. They will also receive a trophy and a visit to their school from a BBC comedian.