Winners of BBC comedy writing competition announced

Winners from Liverpool, Teddington and Hounslow have won the BBC’s Comedy Classroom Competition


The winners of the BBC’s Comedy Classroom writing competition launched in partnership with the National Literacy Trust were announced today [Thursday, November 10th].

Open to 13-15-year-olds students across the UK, the competition – a collaboration between BBC Learning, BBC Comedy and the National Literacy Trust - called on secondary school students to become classroom jokers and was given backing by some of the UK’s top comedy talent, including Charlie Higson, Kerry Howard, Marcus Brigstocke and David Walliams.

There were three categories to enter:

·         Class Joker - Stand-up. Students were asked to turn their personal observations and views of the world into a written and performed stand-up comedy routine. The winner of this category was Sarah Jayne, from Archbishop Blanch School, Liverpool.

·         Class Act - The Sketch. Students were encouraged to write their own unique sketch and bring to life funny ideas and characters. The winner was Samuel, from Teddington School, Teddington.

·         Class Comic - Clever Captions. Students had to find the funny in an image and write a comedy caption. The winner of this category was Tom, from St Mark’s Catholic School, Hounslow.

Sarah Jayne, Samuel and Tom were told of their wins with a surprise visit to their school by BBC comedians, Johnny and Inel. Their reaction can be seen here at [from 6.30pm , November 10th].

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Tom, from St Mark’s Catholic School, Hounslow.

The winning trio also visited the BBC to watch their work being filmed and receive a Comedy Classroom trophy. They will receive a signed certificate and feedback on their writing. Their work can be watched at [from 6.30pm , November 10th].

They were chosen because of the high standard of their work but also because they genuinely made the judges, which included comedian Charlie Higson, laugh out loud.

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Sarah Jayne,
from Archbishop Blanch School,

Sarah Jayne’s writing was commended for being full of visual imagery and using her own personal observations and character, while the judges thought Samuel’s sketch was funny and original with a great punchline. They also said that Tom used his wit consistently to bring the pictures to life.

As well as David Walliams, Charlie Higson, Marcus Brigstocke and Kerry Howard, the competition also had support from the likes of comedians Katy Wix (Not Going Out) and Citizen Khan star, Adil Ray, who contributed to a teachers’ resource pack, as well as top BBC comedy producers and writers.

Judge, Charlie Higson, says: “I was not disappointed; we had some fantastic entries. There were some genuinely funny scripts. I think just the fact that kids made the effort to go in for this competition and to put the work in is amazing. Comedy is a bit undervalued, particularly in schools. English lessons can be quite serious, so it’s great to encourage that side of things, because comedy is such an important part in all of our lives.”

Creative Director of BBC Learning, Helen Foulkes, says: “Big congratulations to all our winners – the standard of writing was very high and gave us all a really good laugh. It’s great to know that Comedy Classroom has encouraged pupils across the UK to have a go at writing comedy for themselves and to learn about the craft. We hope by using comedy in the classroom, to engage pupils in literacy, we have appealed to those who don’t naturally see themselves as good writers.”

The National Literacy Trust, alongside the BBC, also produced bespoke and flexible classroom learning resources and activities to help make it easy for teachers to integrate the competition and comedy writing into lessons. These 60-minute lessons were drawn from the curriculum requirements for literacy and build on key reading, writing and speaking skills.

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Samuel, from Teddington School, Teddington.

Jonathan Douglas, Director, National Literacy Trust, says of the winners: “I was delighted to join the judging panel for Comedy Classroom; it was fantastic to see how pupils played with language and grammar in clever ways to create hilarious scripts and captions. The impressive standard of entries shows how comedy can capture pupils’ imagination and mobilise great writing in the classroom.”

BBC Comedy Controller, Shane Allen, says: “The volume of response and quality of entries has been staggering. These winners capture the variety of truly original and inventive creative minds who have embraced the whole philosophy of learning through laughter. Comedy writing is all about communicating different ways of looking at the world and being precise with language, it’s wonderful to see such dextrous literacy skills in evidence through these pieces of work. There is a lot of burgeoning talent out there and it bodes well for the future of British comedy.”