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Francesca Martinez

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Francesca is a wobbly* comedian, writer and speaker who tours internationally with sell-out runs at The Melbourne Comedy Festival, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

She launched her comedy career in 2000, beating a thousand UK comedians, including Mathew Horne, Karl Theobald and Jimmy Carr in the Edinburgh final, to win the Open Mic Award.

She has performed in Australia, Ireland, France, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, America (in Hollywood and on Broadway) and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland alongside actress Emma Thompson. A regular face on TV, Francesca is well-known for starring in five series of BBC's Grange Hill and a much-loved appearance on ITV's The Frank Skinner Show. Ricky Gervais wrote a starring role especially for her in BBC's Extras opposite actress Kate Winslet.

In Dec 2012, she made a storming appearance on BBC3's Russell Howard’s Good News, and in April 2013 headlined ITV's The Jonathan Ross Show. Francesca has since debuted on ITV's Lorraine, Loose Women and This Morning, and made three appearances in consecutive years on RTE's The Saturday Night Show. She has been commissioned to write a BBC Radio 4 drama, and poetic response to Shakespeare's sonnets for Radio 3's 400 year commemorations in 2016.

Between 2003 and 2008, Francesca toured her two hit Edinburgh solo shows 'I'mperfect' and 'In Deep'. From 2011-13, her 50-date tour of Australia with What The *** Is Normal?! gained a nomination for 'Best Comedian' at the Perth Fringe, and her 67-date tour of the UK and Ireland won her the Edinburgh Fringe Media Network Award 2011 and a nomination for Best Show at Leicester Comedy Festival 2013.

Her first book, also called What The **** Is Normal?!, was published by Random House in 2014 and the paperback came out in May 2015. Nominated Best Book in the Chortle Comedy Awards 2015, and runner up in the Bread & Roses Book Award 2015, the book got rave reviews from both critics and the general public.

A regular commentator on TV and radio, Francesca delivers motivational and after dinner speeches. In 2005 she was nominated for the 'Motivator Of The Year' Award along with Sir Bob Geldof. 

She was awarded Public Affairs Achiever Of The Year 2013, and in 2014 was nominated a Top Ten Game Changer in BBC 4's Woman's Hour Power List, and Hero Of The Year in the European Diversity Awards.

Francesca was invited to speak at the Oxford Union, recorded a TedX talk, and collected 100,000 signatures for the WOW campaign, leading to a historic debate on welfare cuts in the House of Commons.  She received a standing ovation at the Cambridge Union, and Honorary Doctorates from both Bradford University and the Open Unversity 'for making Britain a more compassionate and fairer society'.

Not one to shy away from the important issues, in 2008 Francesca made global headlines when she became the first Olympic Torch-Bearer to pull out of the London relay in protest against China’s treatment of Tibet. 

In January 2012, she took on Michael Portillo over the government’s welfare reforms live on BBC1’s This Week. Her appearance sparked huge public interest and she received more positive feedback from the public than any of their previous guests.

She followed this up with an appearance on BBC2's Newsnight, was voted most popular guest on BBC3's Free Speech, and is a regular on Channel 4 News.

She has made several appearances on Radio 4’s hugely popular The News Quiz alongside Jeremy Hardy, and a debut appearance on BBC1's Today's Politics.

* Oh yeah, she has mild cerebral palsy but she much prefers the word ‘wobbly’.

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