Lessons in laughter as comic James Acaster teaches kids in Kettering how to raise a laugh

ITV Anglia's Graham Stothard reports on James Acaster's comedy lessons in Kettering.

The comedian James Acaster has been giving lessons in comedy back in his home town.

Mr Acaster, who is 37, went back to Kettering in Northamptonshire to teach pupils at the local science academy how to do stand-up comedy.

Five teenagers got the chance to learn from the comic genius on a five week course before testing their skills on a panel of other top comedians, including Katherine Ryan.

It was a nerve-wracking challenge for the students but they said Mr Acaster's coaching had been very helpful.

Catherine Abrahams said: "No he's been really supportive like for everything, helping me through my material. I've written so much I'm going to be able to perform. I'm feeling really happy with it and that's all because of his coaching. So I'm really glad." 

Charlie Harris said Mr Acaster had been incredibly supportive.

"When it first came up, I put my jokes think not thinking anything of it. Then when I got in as a yes, I was very shocked. I'm really happy. He's a lovely man. Yes." 

Mr Acaster, who teamed up with Kettering Science Academy and Speakers for Schools on the programme, was full of praise for his young students.

"I thought they were fantastic. Every week they've like gone up in level in terms of confidence or their skills. And to see them like perform in front of some of the biggest comedians in the country today, as confidently as I did was really really nice."

Meanwhile Tony Segalini, the Principal of the academy said he was proud of his pupils.

"I've seen them obviously a practice this in dry runs and suchlike, and they were great in that. But watching them actually performing live in front of the comedians is actually a really proud moment for us."

The performances were judged by Tom Allen, Romesh Ranganathan, Katherine Ryan and Desiree Burch who all gave tips and feedback.

James Acaster has shot to fame in the last few years. He's proud of his Kettering roots and mentions regularly in shows. He even got involved in saving nearby Wicksteed Park, somewhere he visited as a boy, when it was close to bankruptcy. 

"Growing up in Kettering you can get told that you're not as good as you are, sometimes you can get put down quite a lot. And I think it's important to like, realise that that's not the case and you can do anything, and the kids here, have got so much potential and it's really nice working with them and seeing the future of, like not just this town, but of the country as well."