Britain's Got Talent (often abbreviated to BGT) is a televised British talent show competition, and part of the global Got Talent franchise created by Simon Cowell. Ever since the first series, the show has been presented by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (colloquially known as Ant & Dec). In the fifteenth series' Manchester auditions and live episodes, McPartlin and Donnelly were joined by series 11 finalists MerseyGirls. It is produced by both Thames (formerly Talkback Thames) and Syco Entertainment, distributed by Fremantle, and broadcast on ITV every year in late Spring to early Summer. The show premiered on 9 June 2007 following the success of America's Got Talent the previous year; it was initially planned for 2005, but a dispute between the broadcaster and its originally intended host led to production being suspended for two years.
Every year, contestants of any age can audition for the televised contest with whatever talent they wish to demonstrate. Auditionees seek to impress a panel of judges - at present, consisting of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, and David Walliams - in order to secure a place in the live rounds of the contest. Once in the live rounds, participants seek to impress the public and judges to secure votes, in order to reach the final and a chance to win a cash prize and a place within that year's performances for the Royal Variety Performance before members of the British Royal Family. As of 2019, the show has had thirteen winners, ranging from musicians and singers to variety acts, magicians and dancers.
Britain's Got Talent is the UK's biggest television talent competition, ahead of both The X Factor (also created by Cowell) and The Voice UK. On average, it draws viewing figures of 9.9 million viewers per series – the show's live final in the third series attracted a record 17.3 million viewers, obtaining a 64.6% audience share at the time of its broadcast. Each series of the main programme is accompanied by a sister show, entitled Britain's Got More Talent, presented by Stephen Mulhern; until October 2019, the programme was aired on ITV2, but has since been moved to online platforms. A spin-off entitled Britain's Got Talent: The Champions, featuring the same judges and hosts, was later produced and broadcast in 2019, following the success of the American edition's spin-off America's Got Talent: The Champions. As of January 2019, the programme is contracted to run until 2022.
The show's format was devised by X Factor creator and Sony Music executive, Simon Cowell, who was involved in the creation of other Got Talent programmes across several different countries. To showcase his idea, a pilot episode was filmed in September 2005, with the judging panel consisting of Cowell, Fern Britton (at the time, presenter of This Morning), as well as tabloid journalist Piers Morgan. The pilot was not broadcast on television until it was shown as part of a documentary series entitled The Talent Show Story in January 2012.
The original plan for the show was for it to be aired within 2005–2006, before the broadcast of America's Got Talent, with Paul O'Grady presenting the programme under the title Paul O'Grady's Got Talent, after having hosted the pilot. However, complications arose when O'Grady was involved in a row with ITV and refused to appear on another of the broadcaster's programme, eventually defecting to Channel 4 to continue hosting his teatime show and effectively putting plans for the show on hold. In a 2010 interview, O'Grady commented about the row by stating: "I did the pilot for Britain's Got Talent – which was originally going to be called Paul O'Grady's Got Talent. But I told the producers they were having a joke if they thought I would front a show with that title. The original panel of judges was going to be Simon Cowell, Fern Britton and Piers Morgan. I was the host. Then when I had the row with ITV I was banned from the studios. I remember I rang Simon and told him he had a huge hit on his hands, but there was no way I could do it. I said, if I am banned I have to be banned from everything. I can't be a hypocrite and come in and do this. I had to bow out." On 12 February 2007, following the success of America's Got Talentthe previous year, ITV announced their intentions for a British series ofGot Talent. Their announcement revealed changes to the original plan for the programme, with Ant & Dec revealed to be the hosts for the new programme. While Cowell remained as part of the judging panel, the new plan intended for David Hasselhoff and Cheryl Cole. However, both resigned before the programme was due to air, leading to Morgan being part of the panel as originally planned, and actress Amanda Holden joining him and Cowell as a judge; Hasselhoff would later join the panel for the programme's fifth series after being a part of the panel for America's Got Talent, while Cowell later employed Cole to be a replacement for Sharon Osbourne on The X Factor. At the same time, the broadcaster also announced that the show would be accompanied by a sister show on ITV2, entitled Britain's Got More Talent, with Stephen Mulhern as its presenter.
The show holds two rounds of auditions for contestants. The first round, referred to as the "open auditions", are held across several different cities around the UK during the Autumn months. The second round, referred to as the "Judges' Auditions", are held the following year during January and February, prior to the broadcast of the show later that year during spring or early summer - these auditions consists of the contestants who made it through the first round, and are held within a select set of cities, which has commonly included Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London. For the Judges' Auditions, each site used for these is located within a theatre or convention hall. These sites are primarily chosen for the purpose of having facilities that can handle large volumes of contestants, with each set up into three arrangements when auditions are taking place: a waiting area for contestants to prepare and await their turn to perform, with monitors to allow them to see the performances of other contestants; the wings, where a contestant enters and leaves from, and where friends and family of the contestant can view them from; and the main stage, where the contestant performs their act before the judging panel, who are located in front of the stage. The main stage area is usually modified to include the judges' panel desk, along with a special lighting rig above the stage, consisting of Xs that each have the name of a judge under them.
Each contestant that auditions is given a number by the production team and remains in the waiting area until called out into the wings, giving them a certain amount of time to prepare their act. Upon being allowed onto the main stage, they will usually be asked by one of the judges for their name and what they plan to perform, along with other details such as age, occupation, personal background, and what they wish to achieve if they won. After this, they are then given three minutes to conduct their performance before both the judges and a live audience, with some acts being supported by a backing track provided by the production team. If at any time, the judges find the performance to be unconvincing, boring or completely wrong, they may use the buzzer before them, which changes the Xs from white to red; if all the judges press their buzzers, then the performance is immediately over. However, a judge can retract their buzzer's use if they felt they had done so prematurely before witnessing a contest's performance to the end; this is true if the performance appears to look bad, but later turns out to have been good in their eyes.
Once a performance is over, each judge will give an overview of what they thought about the act, before casting a vote. If the contestant(s) receives a majority vote of "Yes", they then proceed onto the next stage in the contest, otherwise they are eliminated from that series' contest. In Series 8, a new feature was added to the auditions, which had been previously used on Germany's Got Talent, called the "Golden Buzzer". Situated in the centre of the judges' desk, the Golden Buzzer allows a judge to effectively send the contestant(s) into the live semi-finals, regardless of the opinions of the other judges, if they felt that a contestant's performance was outstanding; when pressed, the judge's X turns gold and the stage is showered in gold glitter strips. However, as a general rule, they may only press it once per series and cannot press it again in later auditions; the hosts of Britain's Got Talent may also press the Golden Buzzer for a contestant, but must also adhere to the same rule.
Filming for the show begins during the Judges' Auditions, with footage that is recorded in these being edited into a series of episodes that are aired on a weekly schedule before the live semi-finals, and featuring the best highlights of the auditions, including those from the best performances the judges saw, to the worst that appeared, whether funny, poorly conceived or generally bad, and in some cases totally inappropriate. These episodes also include interviews with the contestants in a separate area, as well as additional interviews conducted within the wings before and after a performance, that are conducted by the hosts, who also give personal comments about a performance while watching from the wings.
This stage takes place after the auditions have been completed, and is also referred to as Deliberation Day, in which the judges look through the acts that have successfully made it to this stage, and begin whittling them down to those who would stand a fair chance in the live semi-finals. The amount that goes through has varied over the show's history, though usually consists of a number that can be divided equally over the semi-finals being held in a series. Once the judges have decided on who will go through, all contestants that have reached this stage are called back to discover if they will progress into the live semi-finals or not. After this has been done, the acts are divided up between the semi-finals that the series will have; usually eight in each series, except for the sixth to tenth series which had nine acts per semi-final.
For the fifth series, some acts were asked to perform again, as the judges had had difficulty coming to a final decision on the semi-finalist, and thus needed to see their performance again in order to make up their minds; it is the only time in the show's history that this has happened, and has not been repeated since.
Semi-finals and Final
Contestants that make it into the semi-finals by making it through the auditions and being chosen by the judges (or, from series 8, received the Golden Buzzer during their audition), perform once more before an audience and the judges, with their performance broadcast on live television. Until the tenth series, live episodes were broadcast from The Fountain Studios in Wembley, the same site used for The X Factor, but following its closure in 2016, the show relocated its live episodes to Elstree Studios in 2017, before moving to Hammersmith Apollo the following year. Like the Audition stage of the contest, each semi-finalist must attempt to impress by primarily conducting a new routine of their act within the same span of time; the judges can still use a buzzer if they are displeased with a performance and can end it early if all the buzzers are used, along with giving a personal opinion about an act when the performance is over. Of the semi-finalists that take part, only two can progress into the final, which is determined by two different types of votes - a public vote via phone or voting app; and a judges' vote.
The public vote, which occurs after all the semi-finalists have performed, determines the first winner of the semi-final and takes place via a special phone line over a short break from the programme, or via an online voting app. During this time, the public can pay to make votes for the act they liked best, through a phone number in which the final two digits are different for each semi-finalist - these digits are primarily arranged by the order of their appearance - or, in later series, use the contest's official voting app to make five free votes on the acts they liked. Once voting is stopped and the votes have been counted, the programme airs a live results episode, in which the semi-finalist with the highest number of votes automatically moves into the final. The second winner is determined by the judges' vote, which held after the results of the public vote have been given out, and determines whether the second or third most popular semi-finalist in the public vote moves on to the final. The judges' vote, held after the result of the public vote, determines the second act that wins this stage, and is conducted between the second and third most popular acts the public voted on. After the number of judges was increased to four, the rule on the judges' vote was modified - if the vote is tied, the semi-finalist with the second highest tally of public votes automatically moves on to the final. For the eleventh series only, the judges' vote was not used, meaning that the finalists were determined by the public vote only - the semi-finalists in each semi-final for this series with the highest and second-highest tally of votes, moved on to the final. From the start of the sixth series, the show introduced a new format known as the "Judges' Wildcard", in which the judges can reinstate an act that had been eliminated from the semi-final, through a private vote conducted before the final, usually announced the day before the final. This format was later expanded to include a "Public Wildcard", in which the public could vote on an act that had been eliminated in the semi-finals during the judges' vote and reinstate it for the final; although used in the ninth and tenth series, this format was dropped for the eleventh series.
For the final of each series, the format of the contest operates in exactly the same manner as the semi-finals, including being broadcast live on television, though this time the winner is determined purely by a public vote, with the finalists attempting to secure more votes than the others by performing a new routine at their best. Upon the result being given, the top two acts are brought onto the stage, with the hosts announcing which of them received the most votes. The winner of each year's contest receives a cash prize, and earns the opportunity to perform in the Royal Variety Performance later that year.
For the show's scheduling, the live episodes are usually arranged to take place over the course of a week, with the semi-finals aired mainly on weekdays, and the final aired on the weekend; in some series, the schedule featured a break between the live episodes of the semi-finals, due to coverage of live events. All live semi-final episodes are divided into two parts when they are aired, with the exception of the live final - the first half focuses on performances, each beginning with a short clip of the semi-finalist/finalist's background, and ending with comments by the judges; the second half occurs after voting is closed, usually after another programme has aired between the two parts, and focuses on the results of the phone vote, with a guest performance taking place prior to the announcement of the results. This format was initially used for the live finals only, up until the start of the semi-finals in the fourth series.
Judges and Presenters
Ever since the first series, the show has been presented by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. However, in between the recordings of the January and February auditions and the live May semi-finals, Anthony McPartlin stepped down from his TV commitments on March 19 2018 following a drink driving car crash on March 18 2018 leaving Declan Donnelly to present the live semi-finals without him. McPartlin then returned to the series the following year. McPartlin and Donnelly were then joined by series 11 finalists MerseyGirls. For the first four series after the show began in June 2007, the judging panel consisted of music executive and television producer Simon Cowell, television and West End star Amanda Holden, and newspaper editor and journalist Piers Morgan. In 2009, the producers made plans to alter the show's format to allow for a fourth judge when the third series was set to begin, with plans for Kelly Brook to be the new judge on the panel. Less than a week after the series began, the producers dropped this change on the belief that this alteration to the show's format would complicate it, resulting in Brooks being credited as a guest judge for that series. In 2010, Cowell fell ill during filming of the fourth series and was unable to attend the Birmingham auditions, leading to Louis Walsh stepping in as a guest judge in his place, until he had recovered.
In 2011, the panel saw its first major change, when Morgan revealed he was leaving the show to travel to America and begin filming of his new show. As Cowell had announced he wouldn't be present for the fifth series' auditions, due to his busy schedule with launching The X Factor USA the show's producers decided to amend the panel, and recruited comedian Michael McIntyre, and actor, singer and formerAmerica's Got Talent judge David Hasselhoff, to join Holden during the auditions, with Walsh returning as a guest judge for the London auditions due to Hasselhoff's commitments with a pantomime at that time. When the series entered its live episodes, Cowell returned to oversee the acts as a fourth judge. Later that year, in October 2011, both Hasselhoff and McIntyre declined to return for the sixth series, while Cowell announced he was returning full-time to the show.
On 2 January 2012, the producers revealed its decision to adopt the use of a fourth judge for the programme's format, announcing that both Cowell and Holden would now be joined by David Walliams and Alesha Dixon for the sixth series, with the latter moving to the talent show after deciding to leave BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. During filming in February, Holden was unable to attend the London auditions, due to having given birth to her daughter at that time which had led to her suffering some after-effects from her pregnancy. As a result, the producers brought in actress and model Carmen Electra as a guest judge until she recovered. In subsequent series, the line-up remained as Cowell, Holden, Walliams and Dixon, with no further incidents except for the eighth series in 2014 - Cowell missed the first day of the Manchester auditions, leading to Ant & Dec filling in for him, and was also absent for the final day of the London auditions - and the tenth series in 2016 - Cowell was late for an audition, and was temporarily replaced by Walliam's mother Kathleen, who was attending it.
|Series||Main Judge||Guest Judge|
|1||Simon Cowell||Amanda Holden||Piers Morgan||N/A||N/A|
|5||Michael McIntyre||David Hasselhoff|
|6||Alesha Dixon||David Walliams||Carmen Electra|
|8||Ant & Dec|
- ^ Cowell was not present for auditions in the fifth series; he served as a judge for the live shows only.
- ^ Brook was credited as a guest judge for this series for the Manchester auditions, after the producers dropped plans for her to be a fourth judge on the programme.
- ^ Walsh served as a guest judge in place of Cowell during the fourth series, and Hasselhoff during the fifth series.
- ^ Electra served as a guest judge in place of Holden, during the sixth series.
- ^ Ant & Dec served as guest judges in the eighth series, substituting for Cowell on the first day of the Manchester auditions.
- ^ David Walliams' mother, Kathleen Williams, served as a guest judge in place of Cowell, while attending a session in the tenth series.
|Series||Start||Finish||Winner's prize||Winner||Runner-up||Third place||Ave. UK viewers|
|1||9 June 2007||17 June 2007||£100,000||Paul Potts||N/A||8.38|
|2||12 April 2008||31 May 2008||George Sampson||Signature||Andrew Johnson||10.21|
|3||11 April 2009||30 May 2009||Diversity||Susan Boyle||Julia Smith||13.36|
|4||17 April 2010||5 June 2010||Spelbound||Twist and Pulse||Kieran Gaffney||11.05|
|5||16 April 2011||4 June 2011||Jai McDowall||Ronan Parke||New Bounce||10.40|
|6||24 March 2012||12 May 2012||£500,000||Ashleigh and Pudsey||Jonathan and Charlotte||Only Boys Aloud||10.07|
|7||13 April 2013||8 June 2013||£250,000||Attraction||Jack Carroll||Richard & Adam||9.71|
|8||12 April 2014||7 June 2014||Collabro||Lucy Kay||Bars & Melody||9.84|
|9||11 April 2015||31 May 2015||Jules O'Dwyer & Matisse||Jamie Raven||Côr Glanaethwy||9.31|
|10||9 April 2016||28 May 2016||Richard Jones||Wayne Woodward||Boogie Storm||9.43|
|11||15 April 2017||3 June 2017||Tokio Myers||Issy Simpson||Daliso Chaponda||9.12|
|12||14 April 2018||3 June 2018||Lost Voice Guy||Robert White||Donchez Dacres||8.33|
|13||6 April 2019||2 June 2019||Colin Thackery||X (Marc Spelmann)||Ben Hart||8.78|
- ^ In addition to the cash prize, winners also earn the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in the year they win.
- ^ The results of this series' final did not declare who was in 2nd and 3rd place amongst the other finalists.
- ^ The average viewing figures for the thirteenth series do not include roughly a quarter of those broadcast, as official sources did not disclose their figures following their broadcast.
Series 1 (2007)
The first series was aired during 2007, between 9–17 June. Auditions for this series took place within the cities of Manchester, Birmingham, London and Cardiff, between January and February earlier that year. The series had 3 live semi-finals, featuring a total of 24 semi-finalists, all of whom were vying for a chance to perform at the Royal Variety Performance, as well as claiming a £100,000 cash prize. The series was won by opera singer Paul Potts; the results of the other finalists were not announced.
Series 2 (2008)
The second series was aired during 2008, between 12 April to 31 May, and featured notable differences. Not only did the series run for much longer, auditions took place in Blackpool and Glasgow, the latter following complaints that Scotland hadn't been visited during the previous series, along with Manchester, Birmingham, London and Cardiff. In addition, the show had five live semi-finals, featuring a total of 40 semi-finalists. The series was won by street-dancer George Sampson, with dual dance group Signature coming in second, and singer Andrew Johnston placing third.
Series 3 (2009)
The third series was aired during 2009, between 11 April to 30 May, with auditions held in the same five cities as before. Initially, the producers intended to change the format by including a fourth judge on the panel, but this was later dropped a few days after auditions began. The series was won by dance troupe Diversity, with singer Susan Boyle coming in second, and saxophonist Julian Smith placing third. It is the highest watched series in the history of Britain's Got Talent, attracting an average of over 13.3 million viewers, with the contributing factor being the performances made by Boyle.
Series 4 (2010)
The fourth series was aired during 2010, between 17 April to 5 June; a single episode of this series, intended for airing on 22 May, was pushed back to 23 May, in order to avoid it clashing with live coverage of the UEFA Champions League Final that year. The auditions were once more held across the same five cities as before, though the series also held auditions with Newcastle upon Tyne; the city had been originally planned to hold auditions for the previous series, but these were cancelled before this could happen. Owing to illness, Cowell was unable to attend the Birmingham auditions, which led to Louis Walsh being in brought in as a guest judge for these. The series was won by gymnastic troupe Spelbound, with dancing duo Twist and Pulse coming in second, and drummer Kieran Gaffney placing third.
Series 5 (2011)
The fifth series was aired during 2011, between 16 April to 4 June, and was the first to be broadcast completely in high-definition; like before, a single episode intended for airing on 28 May, was pushed back to 29 May, to avoid it clashing with live coverage of the UEFA Champions League Final that year. Auditions took place across the same five cities, though also included Liverpool. This series saw a change in the judging panel, following Piers Morgan's departure from the show, with Holden joined by David Hasselhoff and Michael McIntyre during the auditions; Cowell appeared during the live episodes of the series with the rest of the panel, while Louis Walsh returned as a guest judge for the London auditions when Hasselhoff couldn't attend due to other commitments at the time. The series was won by singer Jai McDowall, with singer Ronan Parke coming in second, and boyband New Bounce placing third.
Series 6 (2012)
The sixth series was aired during 2012, between 24 March and 12 May. For this series, the cash prize was increased from £100,000 to £500,000, and a new feature was introduced called the "Wildcard", in which the judges could select one of the acts eliminated in the semi-finals, to return and compete in the finals. The show also increased the number of semi-finalist for the semi-finals to 45, with nine acts per semi-final, and the number of judges for the entire contest to 4; the previous series also featured four judges, albeit for the live episodes only. In addition, the show attempted to bring in a new way of voting for the semi-finals via a mobile app, but this was suspended for the series after it suffered technical problems during the first live semi-final.
This series featured an open audition in London, along with inviting other acts to audition via YouTube, before holding Judges' Auditions within Birmingham, London, Manchester and Cardiff, Blackpool and Edinburgh. As both McIntyre and Hasselhoff announced in late 2011 they wouldn't be returning, the show announced on 2 January 2012 that they would be replaced by David Walliams and Alesha Dixon, and join both Holden and Cowell for the new series, the latter having announced he would be returning as a full-time judge on the show. Holden was unable to attend some of the auditions due to her pregnancy that year, leading to Carmen Electra stepping in as a guest judge for these. The series was won by trainer and dog duo Ashleigh and Pudsey, with opera duo Jonathan and Charlotte coming in second, and Welsh boys choir Only Boys Aloud placing third.
Series 7 (2013)
The seventh series was aired during 2013, between 13 April to 8 June; the show took a break on the 29 May, due to live football coverage of England's friendly with the Republic of Ireland. While the show retained the new features introduced in the previous series, the cash prize was reduced to £250,000, with the series featuring auditions within five cities - Birmingham, London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester. The series was won by shadow theatre troupe Attraction, with comedian Jack Carroll coming in second, and opera duo Richard & Adam placing third.
Series 8 (2014)
The eighth series aired during 2014, between 12 April to 7 June. This series was the first to introduce the "Golden Buzzer", and for the first time since the first series, auditions were not held in Scotland, instead being held in Northern Ireland within Belfast, along with Cardiff, London, Birmingham and Manchester; Edinburgh joined these cities to hold open auditions in late 2013, along with Blackpool and Brighton, with additional open auditions held in various local branches of Morrisons within "Talent Spot" tents, owing to the show's sponsorship deal with the supermarket chain at the time. The series was won by boy band Collabro, with opera singer Lucy Kay coming in second, and rapper duo Bars & Melody placing third.
Series 9 (2015)
The ninth series was aired during 2015, between 11 April to 31 May. This series saw the "Wildcard" feature updated; along with the judges being able to put forth an eliminated act from the semi-finals into the final (referred to as the Judges' Wildcard), the show now also allowed the public to vote between the three most popular eliminated acts, with the one with the highest number of votes going forward into the final - this act is referred to as the Public Wildcard. Audition took place within Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, and London, with the latter three cities holding open auditions in late 2014 along with Newcastle, Cardiff, Portsmouth, Leeds, Norwich, and Bristol. The winner of the series was trainer and dog duo Jules O'Dwyer & Matisse, with magician Jamie Raven coming second, and Welsh choir Côr Glanaethwy placing third.
Series 10 (2016)
The tenth series was aired during 2016, between 9 April to 28 May. Auditions were held within Liverpool, Birmingham and London, with all three holding open auditions in late 2015 along with Cardiff, Glasgow, and Manchester. It was the last series to hold live episodes within The Fountain Studios, before its closure at the end of the year. The series was won by magician Richard Jones, with singer Wayne Woodward coming in second, and dance group Boogie Storm placing third.
Series 11 (2017)
The eleventh series was aired during 2017, between 15 April to 3 June; the final was originally planned for 4 June, but this was moved forward to avoid it clashing with the One Love Manchester benefit concert that day. The series saw two major changes: the first saw the total number of semi-finalist reduced to 40 with eight per each semi-final, as it had been prior to the sixth series; the second saw the Judges' vote being dropped, with the two semi-finalists with the highest number of public votes moving on into the final. In addition, the live episodes were now broadcast from Elstree Studios, owing to the closure of the previous site. Auditions were held within Salford, Birmingham, London, and Blackpool, with the latter two cities holding open auditions in late 2016, along with Peterborough, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Kingston upon Hull, Lincoln, Reading, Manchester and Luton. The series was won by pianist Tokio Myers, with magician Issy Simpson coming second, and stand-up comedian Daliso Chaponda placing third.
Series 12 (2018)
The twelfth series was aired during 2018, between 14 April to 3 June. Following the previous series, the Judges' vote was brought back into the show's format, while the live episodes were aired from Hammersmith Apollo and presented solely by Declan Donnelly; although Anthony McPartlin had stepped down from his TV commitments in March 2018, he still appeared in the series' audition episodes, which had been filmed during January and February that year. Auditions were held within Manchester, Blackpool and London, with two of these cities holding open auditions in 2017, alongside a number of locations within the United Kingdom and Ireland, including Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dublin, and Inverness. The series was won by stand-up comedian Lost Voice Guy, with comedy singer/pianist Robert White coming second, and singer Donchez Dacres placing third.
Series 13 (2019)
The thirteenth series was aired during 2019, between 6 April to 2 June. Following his absence from the previous series' live episodes, Anthony McPartlin made his return to Britain's Got Talent this year. Auditions were held across the same cities as before, including London and Manchester. This series saw three notable events - the withdrawal of an act from the live semi-finals, despite securing a place through their audition; the surprise return of a participant from a previous series' contest, operating under a veiled alias; and the contest being won by the oldest participant to take part. The series was won by singer Colin Thackery, with mentalist Marc Spelmann (under the stage name of "X") coming second, and magician Ben Hart placing third.
Britain's Got More Talent
Britain's Got More Talent (often shortened to BGMT) is a companion sister show that is broadcast on ITV2, and is aired after each episode of Britain's Got Talent since the main show began in June 2007. Hosted by Stephen Mulhern (with occasional appearances by Ant & Dec), the programme operates in a similar manner to the former spin-off show The Xtra Factor (the companion show of The X Factor), in that it features interviews with contestants and behind-the-scenes footage, though what is shown depends on what the main show is focused on during its broadcast. When the auditions stage is being broadcast, its sister show focuses on highlights of acts that couldn't be shown on the main show, with Mulhern operating in a similar manner to Ant & Dec by viewing the performances in the wings and giving comments, as well as interviewing contestants before and after their performance. When the main show begins broadcasting live episodes, its sister show conducts live "after-show" episodes, featuring interviews with the semi-finalists/finalists, as well as chatting with the judges.
In addition to this format, each year also sees Britain's Got More Talent broadcasting a special set of compilation episodes featuring the best and worst auditions from that year's contest, entitled Britain's Got Talent: Best and Worst, which are presented by Mulhern who introduces each clip shown.
On 7 October 2019, Simon Cowell announced that Britain's Got More Talent would no longer be broadcast on ITV2, but instead shifted onto online platforms and thus provide more focus towards Britain's Got Talent. The decision was made due to changes in viewing habits from the sister show's target audience.
Britain's Got Talent: The Champions
In 2019, Simon Cowell opted to create a spin-off edition of the contest, following the success of the spin-off forAmerica's Got Talent. His plan was to produce a contest under the same subtitle and format as the American spin-off, focusing on bringing the best talent from across the Got Talent franchise, many from the British edition, to compete for a cash prize and the title of "World Champion" in the British public's opinion. Both the contest and the production of the programme began in Spring of that year, with the spin-off's planned broadcast date announced in the 2019 series finale of Britain's Got Talent. The first series of the spin-off premiered on 31 August 2019, with the contest won by dance act Twist and Pulse. The second series of the spin-off premiered on 31 August 2020, with the contest won by dancing girl act, MerseyGirls.
Awards and nominations
Britain's Got Talent has been nominated for a number of National Television Awards in the category of 'Most Popular Talent Show' since 2007. But has lost out to its sister shows The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. Ant and Dec have won the award for 'Most Popular Entertainment Presenters' at the same awards for twelve consecutive years (as of January 2014). Britain's Got Talent has also been nominated for two British Academy Television Awards in 2008, but failed to win any awards. In 2007 and 2008, the show was nominated at the TV Quick and Choice Awards in the 'Best Talent Show' category, losing out to The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing respectively.
In 2008, it was a recipient of a Royal Television Society Programme Award for its technical achievements. It has also won four Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards from five nominations. In 2009, it won its first ever Digital Spy Reality Award for George Sampson for 'Favourite Reality Contestant'. The show was further nominated in the 'Reality Show' category, but lost out to The X Factor in the 'Reality TV Presenter' category for Ant & Dec and two nominations in the 'Reality TV Judge' category for Cowell and Morgan.
|2007||National Television Awards||Most Popular Talent Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|Most Popular Entertainment Presenter||Ant & Dec||Won|
|Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards||Best Reality Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|Best TV Presenters||Ant & Dec||Won|
|TV Quick and Choice Awards||Best Talent Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|2008||National Television Awards||Most Popular Talent Show||Nominated|
|Most Popular Entertainment Presenter||Ant & Dec||Won|
|Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards||Favourite Winner||George Sampson||Won|
|British Academy Television Awards||Lew Grade Award||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society Programme Awards||Best Production Design-Entertainment||Dominic Tolfts||Won|
|Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards||Best TV Presenters||Ant & Dec||Won|
|Best Family TV Show||Britain's Got Talent||Won|
|Best TV Baddie||Simon Cowell||Won|
|2009||TV Quick and Choice Awards||Best Talent Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|Digital Spy Reality TV Awards||Favourite TV Reality||Nominated|
|Favourite TV Reality Judge||Simon Cowell||Nominated|
|Favourite TV Reality Presenters||Ant & Dec||Nominated|
|Favourite Reality Contestant||George Sampson||Won|
|2010||National Television Awards||Most Popular Talent Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|British Academy Television Awards||Best Entertainment Programme||Won|
|2011||National Television Awards||Most Popular Talent Show||Nominated|
|TV Choice Awards||Best Talent Show||Won|
|2012||National Television Awards||Most Popular Talent Show||Nominated|
|2013||Broadcast Awards||Best Entertainment Programme||Nominated|
|National Television Awards||Most Popular Talent Show||Nominated|
|TV Judge||Simon Cowell||Nominated|
|2016||Most Popular Talent Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|2016 British Academy Television Awards||Best Entertainment Programme||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|2017||22nd National Television Awards||Talent Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|TV Judge||Simon Cowell||Nominated|
|2017 British Academy Television Awards||Best Entertainment Programme||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|Diversity in Media Awards||TV Programme of the Year||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|2018||23rd National Television Awards||Talent Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|TV Judge||Simon Cowell||Nominated|
|2018 British Academy Television Awards||Best Entertainment Programme||Britain's Got Talent||Won|
|2019||24th National Television Awards||Talent Show||Britain's Got Talent||Nominated|
|TV Judge||Simon Cowell||Nominated|
|2019 British Academy Television Awards||Best Entertainment Programme||Britain's Got Talent||Won|
Controversies and criticism
The show was criticised by psychologist Glenn Wilson, who referred to it as a "freak show". He stated that "[contestants'] deficiencies and shortcomings are as important as their talent. We enjoy the stress we are putting these people under – will they or will they not survive?"
The treatment of contestants at the audition stage was heavily criticised by the Daily Mail, which described applicants being kept waiting for over 10 hours with no food or drink provided, with no certainty of being allowed to perform more than a few seconds of their act. It also detailed how staff intentionally built up the hopes of low-quality performers in order to maximise the dramatic effect of the judges' put-downs, and the fine points of the contracts performers must sign, which gives the show infinite freedom to "modify" the footage for their own purposes, and to use the footage indefinitely for whatever purpose they choose.
In two separate interviews in 2012, MC Kinky said "Shows like X Factor and Britain's Got Talent reduce the art of making music and practising your craft to the level of a low rent game show with huge financial backing and support. It's a means to make money, not a means to produce ground breaking or interesting artists that demonstrate what they are feeling or are compelled to do. It's corporate" and "it's a churn 'em out fast food form of putrid shit that I have no affiliation with".
In 2013, Bruce Forsyth questioned the show's allowing children to audition. He said, "I don't think that's entertainment. I don't think they should put children on that are too young. If you're going to do that, have a separate show. Have a children's show, British Children Have Talent." Cowell responded to Forsyth, stating that: "someone, Mr Grumpy, said we shouldn't have children your age on the show", after the performance of dance troupe Youth Creation. Jessie J joined the debate, declaring: "I cannot agree with kids having to go through three or four auditions when it's purely for ridicule. I don't understand why it's legal, I think it's wrong".
In 2013 it was revealed that up to 50% of acts on the televised shows had been headhunted by producers. In 2012, electropop band Superpowerless were approached to appear in the semi-finals. They attended the audition after assurances that the act would be portrayed in a positive light. On the day they felt that all interviews, especially those with Stephen Mulhern, were conducted in a manner intending to portray them in a negative light, reducing their act to a novelty/comedy routine intended for ridicule and humiliation. While many newspapers wrote articles on this topic, very few were published as the news outlets were told that running the story would cut that publication out of any advance coverage of the show in the future.
Between 2008 and 2011, several of the show's semi-finalists, finalists, and winners from various series, took part in a live tour entitled "Britain's Got Talent Tour". The event consisted of several shows held across various UK cities during the Summer months, with site locations including Cardiff, Liverpool, Birmingham, Belfast, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Nottingham, London, and Manchester. When the first live tour, hosted by Stephen Mulhern, was announced on 17 April 2008, demand for tickets for the thirteen dates set for it was high. This led to an extension in the number of performances for it, increasing the overall number from twelve - the ten finalists from that year's series and two of the semi-finalists, Tracey Lee Collins and Anya Sparks - to twenty two, including matinées, and a duet with Faryl Smith and Andrew Johnston. In 2009, Mulhern hosted a new live tour, which initially featured four dates before it was later increased to run for eighteen shows, and included performances by Diversity, Flawless, Aidan Davis, Shaun Smith, Stavros Flatley, Hollie Steel, 2 Grand, Julian Smith, Shaheen Jafargholi, Susan Boyle, Darth Jackson, DJ Talent and the 2008 winner, George Sampson. In 2010, a third live tour was created, featuring a much larger schedule and taking place across 16 cities and 23 shows. It was hosted by comedian Paddy McGuinness, and featured performances by that year's finalists of Britain's Got Talent - Spelbound, Twist & Pulse, Kieran Gaffney, Tobias Mead, Tina & Chandi, Paul Burling, Christopher Stone, Janey Cutler, Liam McNally and Connected.
In 2011, a fourth live tour was created. Hosted by Mulhern, it featured performances by the finalists of that year'sBritain's Got Talent - Jai McDowall, Ronan Parke, New Bounce, Razy Gogonea, Michael Collings, Paul Gbegbaje, Steven Hall, James Hobley, Les Gibson and Jean Martyn. However ticket sales were drastically reduced due to low interest in the tour was as a result of the financial climate that year. Because there were raised concerns a new tour would flop if sales failed to improve, the tour was axed in 2012.
There are 6 pieces of related merchandise:
- Best of The Auditions DVD (2009)
- The Electronic Board Game (2009)
- The Magic Set (2009)
- Finalists of 2009: Annual 2010 (2009)
- Be the judge buzzer (2010)
- Finalists of 2010: Annual 2011 (2010)
Since 2010, a Britain's Got Talent app has been available on Apple's App Store and Google Play. The features of the app vary from year to year but always include an interactive feature (e.g. a buzzer, polls or quizzes), relevant social media feeds and clips from the show. In 2015, free in-app voting was introduced. This means viewers are able to vote free of charge five times per voting window during the semi-finals and final rounds.
|Series number||Year||Presenter(s)||No. of episodes||Winner|
|Series 1||2007||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 2||2008||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 3||2009||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 4||2010||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 5||2011||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 6||2012||Anthony McPartlin|
|17||Ashleigh and Pudsey|
|Series 7||2013||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 8||2014||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 9||2015||Anthony McPartlin|
|18||Jules O'Dwyer and Matisse|
|Series 10||2016||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 11||2017||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 12||2018||Anthony McPartlin|
(audition shows only)
|18||Lost Voice Guy|
|Series 13||2019||Anthony McPartlin|
|Series 14||2020||Anthony McPartlin|
(live shows only)