BBC New Comedy Award 2012

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Patrick Kielty hosts the first of two semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Award 2012 - Radio 2's nationwide search to find the UK's comedy stars of the future - from London's Leicester Square Theatre.

The BBC New Comedy Award 2012 is searching the country to find the next big comedy stars to join the likes of previous finalists Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Mack, Sarah Millican, Marcus Brigstocke, Russell Howard and Rhod Gilbert.

800 acts entered. 80 acts competed in eight regional heats held across the country; twelve have been selected - by our judging panel and an audience vote - to perform in our semi-finals, where six acts will be chosen to go through to our grand final which broadcasts live on Radio 2 and the BBC Red Button from The Blackpool Grand Theatre on Monday 12 November.

Tonight in our first semi-final from The Leicester Square Theatre, London, six acts go head to head in the battle for those precious slots in the final, competing for the chance to be crowned winner of the BBC New Comedy Award 2012 with a prize of £1,000 and a commission with BBC Radio Comedy.

The dazzlingly charming Irish funnyman Patrick Kielty is our host for the evening, with a panel of esteemed comedy judges - including multi award-winning comic superstar Mark Watson and last year's winner, the brilliantly funny Angela Barnes - to cast judgement before they hand over to the public who will cast the final vote.

Next week's semi-final takes place at The Sage Theatre, Newcastle.