Russell Howard strikes Gold

Drama and Theatre Studies student Charlie Essex has collected a prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Gold Award on behalf of former student Russell Howard, comedian and TV presenter.

The College was represented at the awards ceremony which is held each year to celebrate the success of further education alumni as well as acknowledge the vital role that colleges play in the careers of the winners and of their continuing achievements.

Russell studied A-levels in English Language, Computing, Media Studies and Business Studies between 1996 and 1998. Whilst here, Russell was very involved in setting up the Alton College Radio Station which broadcast to College students in the refectory and student common room. Along with some of his fellow students, he presented a range of topical radio sketches on aspects of College life which entertained and enhanced the student experience.

Russell is now one of the UK’s most successful comedians. His 2011 sell-out arena tour ‘Right Here, Right Now’ played to more than 300,000 fans including three sold out dates at the 15,000 seater O2 arena. He will be returning to the stage in 2014 with his latest arena tour, ‘Wonderbox’, including four shows at the Royal Albert Hall and a string of international dates.

Russell is the writer and star of BBC Three’s most successful entertainment show, ‘Russell Howard’s Good News’. The 8th series began in Spring 2013; since its debut in 2009, cumulative ratings have grown from 1.7 million a week to over 5 million, including viewers accessing the programme across TV and iPlayer. ‘Good News’ is regularly the number one show on iPlayer across all BBC channels.

On winning his award Russell said: “Thank you to the AOC Charitable Trust for my Award and to Alton College for nominating me. I’d love to be there but I’m currently writing jokes about a bloke in Australia who thinks he’s Jesus and a man who was mugged by a fox.”

To highlight the important role further education continues to play for today’s students, a ‘mini me’ campaign is run alongside the Gold Awards. We selected Charlie Essex, a current student who shows promise in a similar field to our Gold Award winner. Charlie is planning to study a BA/MA in Acting. He ultimately hopes to become a professional actor/presenter or drama teacher.

He said, “Congratulations to Russell Howard for winning the award which is an amazing achievement. I am honoured to have been chosen to collect Russell’s award on his behalf and I am a massive fan of his comedy. I look forward to meeting him in College to present this to him personally.”