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.
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.
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.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.