WHITCHURCH'S first ever comedy festival begins this week.

The event, which features a number of top comics from across the UK, will take place on the grounds of the Dodington Lodge in a specially prepared 'comedy tent'.

It is being put on by comedy promoters Funny Beeseness, with nearly 1,500 tickets snapped up already for the shows.

Wayne Beese, director of Funny Beeseness, said: "It's nearly a year since we have been able to put on a comedy show in Whitchurch.

"We've missed our audiences and we know they have missed us, so we wanted to come back with a bang.

"The marquee looks absolutely fantastic at the Doddy and we can't wait to get in there now and have a good laugh.

"It's a first for Whitchurch and the response has been fantastic.

"We've sold loads of tickets but they are still available for nearly all of the shows, and we hope people will come out in force and support it."

Whitchurch Herald: Sean Walsh will be performingSean Walsh will be performing

Scott Bennett – tipped by many to be the next big thing – kicks off proceedings on Thursday with his new tour show Relax, plus his best bits from the circuit.

The award-winning character comic Tom Binns is next up on Saturday night.

He will be performing 45 minutes as his psychic spirit medium character and 45 minutes as madcap hospital radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury, as seen on '8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown'.

The comedy will continue into August and September.

Whitchurch Herald:

Rich Hall

Ed Byrne headlines on August 6, Seann Walsh on August 20, Tom Stade on August 27, Paul Sinha on September 3 and finally Rich Hall on September 10.

All of those shows are at the 'Doddy', with two big shows featuring Henning Wehn on September 19 and Russell Kane on September 24 closing the festival in style at Whitchurch Civic Centre.

To book for any of the shows, go to www.funnybeeseness.co.uk