Comic Kiri Pritchard-McLean wins Caroline Aherne Bursary

The comedian and writer, who frequently appears on BBC radio, will receive £5000 to fund the development of her future work.

Comedian and writer Kiri Pritchard-McLean is this year’s recipient of the Caroline Aherne Bursary.

The prize was launched in memory of The Royle Family creator, who died in 2016.

Pritchard-McClean, who was praised for representing “all that is vibrant and distinctive about the Welsh working class sense of humour”, will receive £5,000 to fund the development of her future work.

The bursary was named after Caroline Aherne following her death in 2016 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

She will also receive mentorship from a BBC comedy commissioning editor to develop a comedy script.

Pritchard-McClean said she is “utterly overwhelmed” to have been chosen to receive the bursary.

“I adore Caroline so much, in fact, I was too intimidated to put myself forward at first, she’s an absolute icon,” she said, adding: “I’m now so glad that I did.

“I think the previous two recipients are fantastic and what an honour to be associated with Caroline in any way, now I can pretend my endless re-watching of Mrs Merton and The Royle Family is for work and not just me being a creepy fan girl.”

The comic, who was born in Gloucester and raised on a farm in Anglesey in Wales, is known for her appearances on BBC radio including The News Quiz, The Now Show and as the host of Radio 4 Extra’s satirical sketch show Newsjack.

On TV, Pritchard-McClean has appeared on Live At The Apollo, Have I Got News For You, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie To You and The Russell Howard Hour, on which she is also a writer.

She has a true crime podcast called All Killa No Filla, which has more than 350,000 monthly listeners, and she is also the director and co-write for the sketch group Gein’s Family Giftshop, which received a best newcomer nomination at the 2014 Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Shane Allen, controller BBC comedy commissioning, said: “Just as Caroline embodied the spirit of working class northern comedy that she brought to the masses, Kiri represents all that is vibrant and distinctive about the Welsh working class sense of humour and we will support her to bring that unique voice and talent to national prominence.”

Referring to inaugural winner Sophie Willan in 2018, he added: “By way of demonstrating how vital this bursary is in fast tracking emerging talent, seeing Sophie deliver her first sitcom within 18 months of being awarded this bursary makes our little old comedy hearts burst with pride.”

Since winning the bursary, Willan has written and will star in a comedy pilot called Alma’s Not Normal, which is set in her hometown of Bolton and in which she draws on her own unusual life experiences.

Stand-up comic Amy Gledhill was the second winner of the Caroline Aherne Bursary.

The bursary was designed to find, develop and support rising comedy talent and named after Aherne, who created The Royle Family and Mrs Merton.

Aherne died in July 2016 at the age of 52 following a battle with cancer.