Stand-up comedian Lee Hurst has promised to add a touch of irreverence to proceedings after being unveiled as the presenter of this year's Birmingham Post Business Awards.

The comedian, best known as a former team member on the BBC comedy quiz They Think It's All Over, is a popular awards host - and said the secret to his success was doing no preparation at all.

He said improvising was key to his act and pledged to "make sure everyone has a good time".

The announcement comes a week after Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was unveiled as the keynote speaker at the awards.

This event promises to be the biggest and best yet with up to 800 businesspeople and decision-makers expected at the ICC on November 26.

Mr Hurst said: "I am very irreverent. I don't respect any awards I do, which sounds odd, but I see it as my job to make sure everyone has a good time.

"That is what I have been brought in for. If you are looking for someone to just stand there and stick to the script then a television presenter is the right person - they are used to reading from an autocue all day."

Mr Hurst was a regular face on television in the 1990s before focusing on stand-up and running comedy clubs.

He said he would try to stay as far away from a script as possible.

"My approach is don't do anything, just turn up. I don't like to have too much information because I find you don't improvise," he said.

"I don't rehearse - I just turn up and do the basic logistical stuff but I find the less I know the better."

The event will see 12 awards handed to top companies from the region as well as an address by Labour big-hitter Mr Balls.

Post editor Stacey Barnfield said: "Lee Hurst is one of the most sought-after presenters on the circuit.

"Not only is he a great laugh, he is very experienced with events like this and will bring a real light-hearted, irreverent, atmosphere to this year's business awards."

Award categories comprise small business, manufacturing, environmental, legal, finance, communications, outstanding professional, property, technology and digital, retail, company of the year and the lifetime achievement award.

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