ANDREA Louise Watson always knew she wanted to be an actress but it came as a complete surprise to her that she had a talent for stand-up too, even winning an award for her first London comedy gig.

Andrea, from Wrelton, Pickering, always enjoyed telling stories about her eccentric family and, prompted by a midlife crisis, she was curious at 42 to find out if she had had the gift of the gab with a microphone in her hand.

Bolstered by initial training with stand-up guru Logan Murray at the Great Yorkshire Fringe in York in July, the answer was yes, so much so that she will perform a headline set at the Having A Laugh Comedy Night at Howden's Shire Hall on October 4.

Andrea took part in an intensive comedy course with Murray, who had tutored such comedic talents as Greg Davies, Rhod Gilbert and Josh Widdicombe. Her first performance came only two days later as Murray saw a natural talent that prompted him to encourage her to pursue a career in comedy, whereupon she immediately continued her training in London with comedian Kate Smurthwaite at a summer course at the City Academy at Shoreditch.

The rest of the summer was spent touring the open-mic circuit in the North East before Andrea returned to London on September 4, when she won joint first prize at The Rising Star Comedy Club in Holborn, competing with 20 fellow fledgling funny turns.

"I can’t believe the speed at which the stand-up has taken off in only a matter of months," says Andrea, whose acting talent had brought her the lead role in the short film Taking A Hike For Aunt Alice, with a co-starring appearance in another short, The Birthday Present, coming out soon.

As well as her 7.30pm Howden gig, Andrea will perform at the South Kensington Comedy Club at the Hoop & Toy in London on September 25 and the DOC bar in Leeds on an October date yet to be confirmed.

Howden tickets can be booked on 01430 432510 or at