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A Year of Olympic Glory and a Few Laughs

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I have to confess to being a bit jaded about the Olympics. Now that they're trying to high jump them into our Christmas stockings, I'm wondering if it will ever stop!

Sorry to sound like a moaning Minnie but my personal Olympic journey was a sad one ending in being given tickets for one of the opening ceremony rehearsals only to be thwarted by the failure of London Transport to deliver an efficient way of getting across the city to the stadium - the Overland service from Richmond to Stratford was delayed and we missed our chance to pick up the tickets we'd been offered.

Regret is not a word I like to use but hearing stories of friends who volunteered as 'Games Makers' and performers in the opening ceremony I fear I did miss out. As a born and bred Londoner, I now wish I'd had an opportunity to play my part - banging a drum along with Danny Boyle would have been good fun. I admit I blew it.

So the Olympic legacy lives on and now our Christmas screens are full of lithe, happy, fit and be-medalled (like jewels but way cooler) athletes enjoying the spotlight yet again! I know they deserve this and I really enjoyed watching the Sports Personality of the Year - yes, the right man won (he has got a personality) - but I'm not sure I'd want a video compilation of all this for Christmas!

Yet we've all received an unexpected gift - one of awareness and clarity about the limits of mankind. At the risk of sounding vaguely biblical, the gift we've been given by this glut of sporting media coverage, is to see how the Paralympics have opened the doors for a whole range of disabled people, with or without athletic prowess, to be hugely visible. They are being celebrated for their achievements regardless of their disabilities and it will be good to see this pervade into other walks of life.

We already have a smattering of blind, deaf and physically impaired performers making waves on the comedy scene so the Paralympic legacy should ensure that there are more opportunities for disabled actors in theatre, film and TV productions and for physically challenged musicians, composers and producers to play in and collaborate with bands, orchestras and studios. It really is a brave new world that we've inherited out of the UK's 'best ever year of sport'.

I've omitted to say that the main reason I didn't volunteer for the Olympics is that I kept my annual commitment to the arts world by taking shows to the Edinburgh Fringe, showing professional solidarity while all around had taken to their TV screens for the month of August. So, although I didn't experience any Olympic glory first hand, I did get to have a comedy high by way of compensation when I was invited to the British Comedy Awards last week which sets a benchmark for the comedy world to celebrate its own brilliant talent pool.

I get to vote in the first rounds of the selection process as a member of the British Comedy Academy so was privy to the original list of acts nominated in the early stages. Although the final selection appears to be a reflection of 'what's on telly' - Harry Hill (again...), Lee Mack, Jack Whitehall - there were some real surprises - like Cardinal Burns and Hunderby - which are new and exciting. I put this down to the main panel being 'in the know' and it's good that the outcomes are not always predictable. There are gaps in the process - for example, why isn't there an award that celebrates excellent radio comedy? I'd also like to see a 'comedy moment' award or recognition of a 'comedy icon' from history.

OK so comedy doesn't imbue quite the same sense of achievement as sport but although you don't have to physically train, the endorphine count is still reassuringly high and there's reward in making people laugh. It was a great way to end my year of glory.

Happy Christmas and no Olympic videos in my stocking please!

To read more about Funny Women at the British Comedy Awards go HERE.