FOR viewers of Britain's Got Talent, this year's comic star turn Malawian-born comedian Daliso Chaponda, hasn't quite come out of nowhere.

In fact, much like other comics such as Hal Cruttenden and Michael McIntyre, Daliso has been working his stand-up socks off for the last ten years at clubs and theatres across the country.

"Making a living as a comedian is tough," he tells me, "really tough. I love doing it but I knew there was another tier of stand-up there, away from the small clubs and bars and I suppose I wanted to see if I could make it."

Which is why he applied for Britain's Got Talent.

"Perhaps it was a risk," Daliso admits, "but I also knew that on the right day I can make people laugh. What I also liked about the competition is that they tell you where you're going wrong. When you go to a club and have a bad night the audience doesn't tell you why you were bad. On Britain's Got Talent they do. They give you feedback and that for me was also interesting."

Except they didn't.

Daliso was one of the biggest hits of this year’s BGT. He was fast-tracked to the semi-finals when Amanda Holden used her ‘golden buzzer’ to put him through and subsequently the clips of his appearances attracted more than 12 million views on YouTube.

Following his third place in the show, he's getting ready for his debut 31-date UK tour next year, entitled What The African Said, which would be more than enough for Daliso, except he's also been commissioned to write and feature in his first Radio 4 show, Citizen Of Nowhere, which will also air next year.

"I can always come back down to earth," he jokes, "but at least I have this tour. It's a dream come true for me to do this tour so if I do come back down, I'll come back down very happy.

"At first it was 20 dates and they just sold so quickly we now have 31-dates. It's incredible and I cannot wait for them to start."

Not bad for a young man who spent his childhood travelling around Africa with his father George, who was himself a refugee before becoming a diplomat and then Malawi’s Justice Minister. That meant Daliso spend his youth travelling from country to country, until winding up as a student in Canada.

And that's where it all started.

"I wanted to be a novelist," he reveals. "I wanted to be the next big African novelist but of course my family thought I was a mad man. In the end they pushed me to study computer programming in Canada but the laugh was on them because that's where the biggest comedy festival is."

Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival was where Daliso saw his first stand-up and he was hooked straight away.

"I thought it was incredible," he continues. "I had only seen Eddie Murphy in Raw up until then but I thought it was just a Hollywood actor getting up and being funny. I didn't realise this was a thing anyone could do."

Starting off with a tiny open mic night in Canada, Daliso soon began gigging more and more. Eventually, realising going back to Malawi wasn't a viable option for a burgeoning stand-up comedian, he made his way to the UK.

"I started in London," he says, "but it became too expensive, so now I'm in Manchester, which is a brilliant city to live in. Also because I tour around so much it doesn't really matter where you live as a comedian."

Even more so as he'll be on the road for much of next year with his What the African Said 2018 Tour.

But before he embarks on his first nationwide tour, Daliso is hosting a rather special gig as part of this year's Colchester Comedy Festival.

As well as Daliso, the night at Colchester's Charter Hall features a cracking line-up courtesy of London's Comedy Store.

That includes improv sensations The Noise Next Door, who take audience suggestions and transforms them into funny scenes and songs in the blink of an eye. They've been nominated for a Chortle Award and have performed alongside the likes of Michael McIntyre, Al Murray, and Harry Hill, and in front of serviemen and women from the British forces, secondary school students and even fans at the Download Heavy Metal music festival.

There's also the razor-sharp wit and a no-holds-barred attitude of Canadian comic Tom Stade and Hal Cruttenden, who has appeared on The John Bishop Show, The Royal Variety Performance, Live At The Palladium and Have I Got News For You?

Last but by absolutely no means least is Jo Caulfield, who not only has been a regular on the likes of Mock the Week and Never Mind the Buzzcocks but has also written for the likes of Graham Norton and has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival an impressive 12 times, with her most recent show appropriately entitled Older, Wiser, Smarter, Meaner.

Daliso says: "I really like festivals because you're surrounded by other comics and this festival gig is even better because it has such a great line-up with two of my favourite comedians on the bill in Hal Cruttenden and Tom Stade. It really is a privilege to be on the stage with all these people, I can't wait."

Comedy Store Presents...

Charter Hall,

Cowdray Avenue, Colchester.

Friday, October 20. Doors 6.30pm.

£23.50 + £1.50 Booking Fee (per ticket). 01206 573948.