Stand-up comic Jacob Hawley, who grew up in Stotfold and Arlesey, says “the hard work starts now” following his BBC New Comedy Award final appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe this weekend.

Jacob, 25, was not even supposed to be in the competition – he was on the waiting list, and was drafted into the heats after a competitor pulled out.

He progressed from there to the semi-finals and ultimately Sunday’s final, in which he and five other comedians impressed a judging panel made up of Hugh Dennis, Jenny Eclair and Radio 4 comedy commissioning editor Sioned Wiliam, live on BBC Radio 4.

Jacob’s friend Heidi Regan, originally from Newcastle in Australia, won first place – which he said was the best result if he couldn’t be the winner.

Speaking to the Comet today, he said: “I really enjoy Heidi’s comedy – she’s a good friend of mine so if it couldn’t be me, I’m glad it was her.

“For me this is just the starting point. You look at people who’ve got this far in past years and they’ve mostly done really well.

“All of us finalists get a bit of mentoring from the BBC over the next year. Out of last year’s six finalists, I think it’s four are either developing ideas with the BBC or have already done it – so I’ll be looking to do that too.

“Finding out I was through to the final was a real buzz – I wasn’t supposed to be in the heats, I was on the waiting list and got brought in when someone else pulled out.

“Then I was in the semi-finals and then the final. When I heard my name get called out, I was just over the moon.

“I’m just happy to have got as far as I did. Hopefully you’ll all see more of me in the future – the hard work starts now.”

Jacob, who was born at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, grew up in Stotfold and later Arlesey – and attended St Mary’s Lower School and Etonbury Middle School in Stotfold before moving on to Samuel Whitbread Academy in Shefford.

During his routine, he told how his father forgot to give him a 25th birthday card, but remembered to cover a Stevenage cul-de-sac in bunting for a street party on St George’s Day.

He said that when he expressed doubts about St George at this party, one of his father’s friends told him: “Yeah, well, it might not have been a dragon, it could have been a lizard – but he’s still a saint!”

Jacob put it to the Edinburgh audience: “Hang on a minute, guys – a few thousand years ago, a guy slayed a lizard with a sword, and you’re throwing a street party? I survived 25 years in Stevenage – nothing!”

Jacob now lives in the south London neighbourhood of Kennington, and works at the Hendon-based Middlesex University while making his way in the world of comedy.

Previous BBC New Comedy Award winners and finalists include Peter Kay, Alan Carr and Joe Lycett.

You can follow Jacob and see his upcoming tour dates at