Dave Spikey is backing a search to find the town’s next big comic talent.

The award-winning comedian will be on the judging panel for the final of Comedy Club, which was launched on April Fool’s Day by Crompton Place shopping centre and the Octagon theatre.

People of all ages are being urged to enter and tell a joke, do a short stand-up routine or funny gimmick to be in with a chance of being shortlisted for a two-stage heat being held at Crompton Place during the week beginning May 19.

The winners in each of the categories — under 18s, 18 to 30 and over 30 — will go through to the final at Crompton Place on Wednesday, May 28, where double British Comedy Award winner Dave will help to decide a winner.

The person crowned Bolton’s king or queen of comedy will have the opportunity to perform their stand-up routine live at a specially-organised gig at Octagon in front of a paying audience later this year.

They will also win prizes from retailers at Crompton Place, whose manager Malcolm Angus first came up with the idea for Comedy Club.

Dave, who co-wrote and co-starred in the hit comedy series Phoenix Nights and has performed in front of the Queen at The Royal Variety Performance, said: “Bolton is a town full of heart and humour.

“A town where the answer to ‘Is your glass half full or half empty?’ is ‘Get a smaller glass for goodness sake’.

“So it should come as no surprise it is a hotbed for comic talent.

“I started my career on the local circuit and my big opportunity came when I won the North West Comedian of the Year award.”

Dave, who is performing at the Octagon Theatre on November 8 as part of his 2014 stand-up tour, added: “The prize on offer, to perform live with your own show at Octagon Theatre, could be a tremendous springboard for a new comedian looking for a primetime break.

“I will be watching very carefully to see who wins.”

Crompton Place manager, Malcolm Angus, who will be on the judging panel, said: “We are over the moon to have Dave on the final judging panel with us.

“Not only is it a terrific coup for us, it is also a terrific opportunity for the shortlisted finalists, who will be able to try out their very best comedy in front of a UK comedy master.

“My thanks must also go to bosses at the Octagon theatre, who are on board with us, not only to help choose a winner but to stump up this once in a lifetime chance for the winner to have their own live stand-up show.”

Elizabeth Newman, associate director of the Octagon, added: “We are proud to support new artists, whether that’s in new writing, acting, singing or comedy, so we’re thrilled to be part of this exciting search for Bolton’s next top comedian.

“Bolton and the local area have seen some great comedians make it on to the scene, including Peter Kay, Victoria Wood, and Dave Spikey.”

  • For more information and to enter go to crompton-place.co.uk