The BBC has opened applications for the Felix Dexter bursary for black, Asian and other ethnic minority comedy writers.

The four-month bursary, launched in 2017, will be awarded to an aspiring comedy writer or duo and see them develop their skills at the BBC and via virtual industry placements.

Recipients will get the chance to work on a range of BBC comedies across radio, TV and online, including panel shows, shorts and sitcoms.

Graham Norton Show – London
Paul Whitehouse (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Paul Whitehouse, trustee of the Felix Dexter Foundation, and Shane Allen, director of BBC comedy commissioning, helped launch the scheme as a tribute to the late comedy actor and writer, who featured in well-loved series including The Fast Show and The Real McCoy.

Dexter, who was born in Saint Kitts but moved to the UK as a child, died of cancer in 2013, aged 52.

Whitehouse said: “I’m really glad that this BBC bursary is launching again in Felix Dexter’s name. Felix was a force of nature.

“His comedy was wholehearted, sublime and unpredictable. That such a brilliant figure should be remembered and honoured like this, by encouraging talent from the BAME community, is a fitting tribute to him.”

Kate Daughton, head of comedy at the BBC, said: “The bursary has proved incredibly successful over the past couple of years nurturing the careers of budding BAME writers.

“It’s wonderful to be running it in Felix’s name, a much-loved inspiration to all emerging comedy writers.”

Last year’s recipient, stand-up comedian Athena Kugblenu, said: “The bursary was the catalyst to my career as a writer and performer becoming full-time.

“Being endorsed by such a prestigious scheme massively improved my confidence as a writer.

“However, it was the practical aspects – the time to work on a pilot, the notes from BBC comedy commissioning editors and meetings with industry etc that helped develop my craft to the professional standard that has allowed me to work on shows post-bursary like The Lenny Henry Show, The Russell Howard Hour, Newsjack, The Now Show and Dead Ringers.”

The bursary is open to black, Asian and other ethnic minority writers or writing duos aged 18 or over.

Applications close on March 19 and can be made here.