Northwich Memorial Court Theatre
Sunday 30thJune 2019


Dave Bawden is now dreaming of swapping his day job for a career in comedy – after winning Manford’s Comedy Club New Act of the Year competition, which took place at Northwich Memorial Court Theatre to a packed, sold-out show of over 500 people.

Dave, 29, who comes from Birkenhead and now lives in Ellesmere Port, is a marketing executive at a marine services company and beat nine other comics in the grand final hosted by comedy superstar Jason Manford.

We were filled with nervous anticipation as the doors opened to the public, this was our first competition, and even though we had planned it with great precision behind the scenes, you never know until the night how it is all going to work out!

Over 250 hopeful comics applied to join the competition in December 2018, and after four regional heats in Poynton, Matlock, Sunderland and Southampton followed by the semi-final in Blackpool, it was down to 10 finalists to battle it out in the Grand Final.

Making up the final 10 were Dave Bawden, Evaldas Karosas, Sian Davies, Matt Bragg, Horatio Gould, Usama Khan, Liam O’Brien, Sachin David Kumarendran, Carla Pol and Charlie Hopkinson.

As the winner, Dave received a trophy, took home £1,000 and will be given progression spots with Jason Manford’s comedy clubs. Plus he will be a guest on Jason’s Sunday morning Absolute Radio show.

Runner-up, former Maths teacher, Charlie Hopkinson, who received £250 and also the chance to progress with Manford’s comedy clubs, was astounded, as he had been entered into the final at the last moment as a Wild Card and impressed the judges and audience with his hilarious impersonations.

The special recognition of  “one to watch out for ” was awarded to Usama Khan from Bradford, as he had the crowd in hysterics with his punchy and controversial style of humour.

All the contestants were amazing and we were so impressed with how professional they were. They had written a wealth of material – hilarious gags, stories and one-liners were flying around thick and fast.

Also performing on the night was the legendary Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue who simply have to be seen to be believed. They are without a doubt the maddest and funniest double act of comedians on the circuit and recently supported Jason on his Muddle Class Tour at the London Palladium.

This dynamic duo had driven all the way from Portsmouth to join us and drove all the way back straight after the show! They kept everyone entertained while the audience vote was being counted backstage.

Dave was finally announced as the winner after deliberations from the esteemed judges, which included John Thomson ( Cold Feet, The Fast Show) Jason Manford and the audience themselves.

We were so lucky to have John as one of the judges. His experience in comedy, theatre and TV was just what we needed.

It was a mad scramble behind the scenes to get all the votes counted in time. We only had 20 minutes until the end of the show, so everyone crammed into Jason’s dressing room with buckets overflowing with voting slips.

Jason and John both got on the floor to help count the hundreds of slips that we had in piles all over the carpet.

Even Jen, the manager of the venue came in to help. It was definitely a case of anyone that had a pair of hands was counting!

Northwich was the perfect venue to host our first competition Final. Great space, wonderful and friendly audience who supported all the new acts and the most welcoming and helpful staff who work there.

We had great feedback from the audience as they were leaving, they had a wonderful time and stuck with us to the very end, even though it was a very hot and humid night!

Jason had this to say: “One of the best things about having comedy clubs across the UK is that I get to see all the new exciting acts coming through the ranks. This competition has enabled us to give these new acts a bigger leg up. It was a brilliant evening with some fantastic comedy. Well done to everyone who took part.”

…and we’ll be doing it all again next year…so watch this space…!!!

"One of the best things about having comedy clubs across the UK is that I get to see all the new exciting acts coming through the ranks"Jason Manford
" It was a brilliant evening with some fantastic comedy. Well done to everyone who took part."Jason Manford
"Oh man, what a night last night was! Couldn't believe I made it through to the final with all the talent that was there last night and then to go on and win was unreal!"Dave Bawden
"One of the best experiences of my life!"Dave Bawden