BBC sets up comedy bursaries for black and ethnic minority writers in memory of comedian Felix Dexter

Money will be available for two people from BAME backgrounds to gain industry experience and work with Fast Show star Paul Whitehouse

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BBC Comedy is offering bursaries for two comedy writers from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in honour of the late comedian Felix Dexter.

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The places will be available on six-month schemes which promise to offer participants an insight into comedy production and the chance to work alongside Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the Felix Dexter Foundation.

Whitehouse said: “This is a great tribute to Felix Dexter. It is much better that his legacy is used to encourage aspiring young ethnic minority comedy writers than to name a room after him in a corridor at the BBC.”

The BBC said that the aim of the bursary is to make a “positive intervention” to achieve an increase in the representation of BAME professionals in comedy production and development in the broadcast industry.

Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, said: “Felix Dexter is a beacon for all those who have a passion for comedy but need a kick start to their careers. Two new comedy writers will get to see what it takes to get their work on television and then bring their stories and voices to the wider audience just like Felix did. We want to find the new and exciting talents out there and this is a really practical way to achieve that.”

Dexter died in 2013, aged just 52, from myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer.

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He enjoyed an eclectic career which included a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as roles in BBC comedies The Real McCoy, The Fast Show and Absolutely Fabulous.