Britain's Got Talent: Wikis


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Britain's Got Talent
Britain's Got Talent logo
Format Talent Show
Created by Simon Cowell
Presented by Ant & Dec (2007–)

Britain's Got More Talent
Stephen Mulhern (2007–)
Judges Simon Cowell (2007–)
Amanda Holden (2007–)
Piers Morgan (2007–)
Voices of Peter Dickson
Gina Mellotte
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3 (in between finishing filming auditions and them airing)
No. of episodes 38 (As of 30 May 2009)
Producer(s) talkbackTHAMES
Location(s) Fountain Studios
(Live shows)
Running time 60–90 Minutes
Original channel ITV1 (plus STV, UTV & TV3)
(Britain's Got Talent)
(Britain's Got More Talent)
Picture format 16:9
Original run 9 June 2007 – present
External links
Official website

Britain's Got Talent is a British television show on ITV and part of the Got Talent series. Presented by British celebrity presenters Ant & Dec, singers, dancers, comedians, variety acts, and other performers compete against each other for audience support. The winner of each series receives £100,000 and is given the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in front of members of the Royal Family, including the Queen. The first series of the talent show began on 9 June 2007, and was broadcast daily with a live final on 17 June 2007, in which Paul Potts won. Street-dancer George Sampson went on to win the second series of the show on 31 May 2008. The third series began on 11 April 2009, and ended on 30 May 2009, with Diversity winning the competition, while Susan Boyle, whose audition performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" sparked an Internet sensation, ended up in second place.



The original title of the show was "Paul O'Grady's Got Talent", and a pilot was made under this title. However, the presenters decision to leave ITV forced this plan to be abandoned, and resulted in the American version, America's Got Talent becoming the first to go into full production.

Unusually for a show made by ITV, itself a UK broadcaster, the title "Britain's Got Talent" implies the exclusion of Northern Ireland (to accommodate this, the title would need to be "The UK's Got Talent"). Whereas sister show The X Factor staged auditions in Belfast up until 2007, auditions for Britain's Got Talent have never taken place in Northern Ireland. Despite this, Britain's Got Talent is shown in both Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland, on UTV and TV3 respectively. Both Northern and Republic of Ireland are the focus of the similar (though independent) programme on RTE, The All Ireland Talent Show.


The show's format was created by The X Factor creator, Pop Idol/American Idol judge and Sony Music Entertainment A&R Executive Simon Cowell, who has created a Got Talent series across the globe. On 12 February 2007, it was announced by ITV the judges would be Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan (who had also judged America's Got Talent) and Amanda Holden (a late replacement for Cheryl Cole, who later became a judge on The X Factor). Originally the judge line-up was to have been Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and David Hasselhoff, from America's Got Talent. In a similar fashion to The X Factor, the show has an ITV2 counterpart called Britain's Got More Talent, presented by the magician and former CITV presenter Stephen Mulhern.

It was originally planned that the show would be aired in 2005 (before America's Got Talent) and would be presented by Paul O'Grady. However, after Paul O'Grady's defection to Channel 4 for The Paul O'Grady Show, he refused to appear in another ITV show, so the series was put on hold after just one rehearsal show.[1][2]

The Got Talent format has been adopted in a number of other countries, however, the original British version has not been broadcast in any other country (except Ireland) due to unsolved rights issues. Television stations in the Scandinavian countries have expressed an interest in showing the UK version but not been able to acquire the rights.


The auditions take place in front of the judges and a live audience at a different city across Britain. At any time during the audition the judges may show disapproval to the act by pressing a buzzer which lights a large red X on the stage. If all the judges press their buzzers, the act must end immediately. To advance to the second round, auditionees must get at least two yes votes (three votes were required at the Manchester Auditions during the third series) or they would be sent home.

After the auditions, the judges have to whittle almost 200 successful acts down to just 24 in series 1 or 40 in series 2–3. All of the performers are called back to discover if they have progressed to the live semi-finals.

The semi-final and final shows are broadcast live from Fountain Studios in Wembley (which is also used for Britain's Got Talent's sister show, The X Factor), with a varying number of semi-finals, followed by the one live final split into two episodes over one night. The remaining acts perform across a number of semi-finals, with the two most popular acts from each semi-finals winning a position in the final. Unlike the American version, judges may still end a performance early with three Xs. The judges are again asked to express their views on each act's performance.

After all acts have performed, phone lines open for a short time. After the votes have been counted, the act that has polled the highest number of public votes is automatically placed in the final. The judges then choose between the second and third most popular acts, with the winner of that vote also gaining a place in the final. All other acts are then eliminated from the competition.

The show's secondary theme song is "Lux Aeterna" (originally from the movie Requiem for a Dream), which is used to create tension. It is also used for the judges "walk-in" at the beginning of every live show.

Britain's Got Talent has been criticized by psychologist Glenn Wilson who referred to it as a "freak show". He states 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?"[3]

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. [4]

Judges and presenters



Years Presenter Series Show
2007–present Ant & Dec 1– Main programme on ITV1
2007–present Stephen Mulhern 1– "Britain's Got More Talent" on ITV2
2008–present Stephen Mulhern "Britain's Got Talent: The Live Tour"


Years Judge Series
2007–present Simon Cowell 1–
2007–present Amanda Holden 1–
2007–present Piers Morgan 1–


Years Judge Series Notes
2009 Kelly Brook 3 Manchester Auditions
2010 Louis Walsh 4 Birmingham Auditions (due to Simon Cowell being ill)

Series One

Series one of Britain's Got Talent began on 9 June 2007 and ended on 17 June 2007. The first five shows covered the audition stages and the final three shows were the live semi-finals and final. Altogether, 24 (26) acts performed in the semi-finals, eight acts in each episode, with a further two acts disqualified from the competition before the semi-finals were aired. The series was eventually won by opera singer Paul Potts.

Series Two

The 2008 series of Britain's Got Talent included notable differences from the 2007 series, including the fact that the auditions visited Scotland and that there were 40 in the live semi-finals. The series also ran for longer, this time airing for seven weeks instead of one. The series was won by street-dancer George Sampson, with dual dance group Signature coming in second and singer Andrew Johnston third. Other acts in the final included martial arts duo Strike, dance troupe Nemesis, 12-year-old mezzo-soprano Faryl Smith, junior dance couple Cheeky Monkeys.

Series Three

As announced at the end of Series 2, Britain's Got Talent returned on 11 April 2009.[5] Ant & Dec returned as the hosts of the show. Sister-show Britain's Got More Talent with Stephen Mulhern has also returned, as announced in the last episode of the second series.

The 2009 panel of judges consists of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan. Kelly Brook was originally announced as a new fourth judge, reportedly being offered £200,000 for the role,[5] but was fired after just six days, having acted as a judge in Manchester only, just one of the five audition venues.[6] According to Cowell, the reason given for sacking Brook was because the producers decided the format was "too complicated" with four judges.

The application process took place throughout January and February 2009 with auditions being held in five of Britain's major cities: Manchester for three days, where the judges saw a total of 120 auditionees; Glasgow for one day, viewing a total of 40 auditionees; Birmingham for three days, watching a further 120 auditionees; London for three days, seeing 128 acts; and Cardiff for one day, where they saw 40 auditionees.

The "First Round Call-Backs" took place in London on Saturday 7 February, where 40 acts were made aware that they would be competing in the live semi-finals in May.

Britain's Got Talent 2009 started on the 11 April and there were five semi-final shows taking place beginning from the 24th of May, until the final on the 30th of May.

One of the most notable performances for the series was by Susan Boyle, a 48-year-old Scottish woman. Boyle sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical Les Misérables. The performance earned a unanimous "yes" vote and resounding astonishment from the judges.[7] Her performance helped lift the show to a launch record of 11.2 million viewers. Within five days of her initial appearance, YouTube recordings of the event had collectively generated more than 100 million views. Boyle also attracted widespread international media coverage.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] It is highly thought that this media coverage led to Susan Boyle being admitted to the psychiatric clinic The Priory[15]

However, other people in the final included; Aidan Davis, Stavros Flatley, Flawless, Hollie Steel, Diversity, Shaun Smith, Shaheen Jafargholi, the grandfather and granddaughter singing duo "2 Grand" and Julian Smith who played the soprano saxophone. The top three finishers were Julian Smith, Diversity and Susan Boyle, with Diversity coming out as the winners, Susan Boyle finishing second and Julian Smith third.

Bookmakers are said to have made a fortune because of the unexpected result. "We are in shock and have made a six figure sum in what has been the biggest surprise in reality TV history. Susan was a certainty," said William Hill's spokesman Rupert Adams. William Hill estimate that over £3m was bet on the show in the final hour.[16]

Series Four

As announced at the end of series three, Britain's Got Talent will return for another series. The 2010 panel of judges will remain the same as series 3 with Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan who all returned for the start of the televised auditions on 18 January at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow[17]. Auditions were then held in Manchester at the Manchester Opera House, Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre.[18], Newcastle's The Journal Tyne Theatre, Birmingham's Birmingham Hippodrome and ended on 10 February at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London. It was announced on Wednesday 3rd February that due to illness, Simon would be unable to attend the filming of the Birmingham auditions and Louis Walsh stood in for him at the last minute, the first time that Cowell has missed an audition show in his entire career. As stated at the Glasgow filming by Executive Producer Richard Holloway, series 4 will air in April 2010[19]. Series 4 will also be the first to air in HD.

Awards and Nominations

Britain's Got Talent has been nominated for two 'National Television Awards' in the category of 'Most Popular Talent Show' in 2007 and 2008, losing to its sister show The X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing respectively. Its shows presenters have won the award for 'Most Popular Entertainment Presenters' at the same awards in 2007 and 2008. It has also been nominated for two BAFTA 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 RTS 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 Escala for Favourite Reality Contestant. It was further nominated in the Reality Show category, but lost to The X-Factor in the Reality TV Presenter category for Ant and Dec and 2 nominations in the Reality TV Judge category for Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, but lost to Cheryl Cole from The X-Factor.

Awards Table

Year Group Award Nominee Result
2007 National Television Awards Most Popular Talent Show Nominated
National Television Awards Most Popular Entertainment Presenter Ant and Dec Won
Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards Best Reality Show Nominated
Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards Best TV Presenters Ant and Dec Won
TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Talent Show Nominated
2008 National Television Awards Most Popular Talent Show Nominated
Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards Favourite Winner George Sampson Won
National Television Awards Most Popular Entertainment Presenter Ant and Dec Won
BAFTA Awards Lew Grade Award Nominated
BAFTA Awards Audience Award Nominated
Royal Television Society Awards Best Production Design-Entertainment Dominic Tolfts Won
Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards Best TV Presenters Ant and Dec Won
Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards Best Family TV Show Won
Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards Best TV Baddie Simon Cowell Won
2009 TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Talent Show Nominated
Digital Spy Reality TV Awards 2009 Favourite TV Reality Nominated
Digital Spy Reality TV Awards Favourite TV Reality Judge Simon Cowell Nominated
Digital Spy Reality TV Awards Favourite TV Reality Judge Piers Morgan Nominated
Digital Spy Reality TV Awards Favourite TV Reality Presenters Ant and Dec Nominated
Digital Spy Reality TV Awards Favourite Reality Contestant George Sampson Won
2010 National Television Awards Most Popular Talent Show Nominated

Live tour 2008 and 2009

On 17 April 2008 it was announced that a thirteen date live tour would be visiting the UK's major cities during the month of June, featuring the semi-finalists, the finalists and the winner from series two, along with a few surprises. Stephen Mulhern hosted the tour, which began on 6 June. None of the judging panel were present, and there was no live voting. After high demand for tickets, the tour was later extended to twenty two performances, including matinées. The tour featured all ten finalists, as well as semi-finalists Tracey Lee Collins & Anya Sparks. The tour also featured a duet with Faryl Smith and Andrew Johnston.

On 13 January 2009 a four date tour was announced via the Ticketmaster website, with the dates in Newcastle, Cardiff, Liverpool and in Manchester. More dates were later added and the tour will run for eighteen shows from 12 to 26 June 2009 and will also travel to Dublin (Ireland), Birmingham, Belfast, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Wembley Arena, Aberdeen and Bournemouth.

The tour in 2009 included these acts: Diversity, Flawless, Aidan Davis, Shaun Smith, Stavros Flatley, Hollie Steel, 2 Grand, Julian Smith, Shaheen Jafagholi, Susan Boyle, Darth Jackson, DJ Talent and the 2008 winner, George Sampson. Stephen Mulhern hosted the tour.

Top selling albums

These albums were sold after Britain's Got Talent. The sales numbers are UK sales only.

Artists with BPI certified albums

Former contestant
Total sales
Debut album Second album Third album
1. Susan Boyle
(Series 3, Runner-Up)
I Dreamed a Dream
(November 23, 2009)
7x Platinum

Peak: #1
2. Paul Potts
(Series 1, Winner)
One Chance
(July 16, 2007)
2x Platinum

Peak: #1
(June 1, 2009)

Peak: #5
3. Andrew Johnston
(Series 2, 3rd Place)
One Voice
(September 29, 2008)

Peak: #4
4. Connie Talbot
(Series 1, Runner-Up)
Over the Rainbow
(November 26, 2007)
Rainbow Recording Company

Peak: #35
Connie Talbot's Christmas Album
(November 24, 2008)
Rainbow Recording Company

Peak: n/a
Connie Talbot's Holiday Magic
(November 26, 2009)
Rainbow Recording Company

Peak: #n/a
5. Escala
(Series 2, 4th Place)
(May 25, 2009)
Sony BMG/Syco

Peak: #2

Artists without BPI certified albums

Former Contestant Total Sales Albums
6. Faryl Smith
(Series 2, 5th Place)


International Versions


Currently, there are only four pieces of merchandise:

  • Best Of The Auditions DVD (2009)
  • The Electronic Board Game (2009)
  • The Magic Set (2009)
  • Finalists Of 2009: Annual 2010 (2009)


  1. ^ Fear to host prime-time talent show Digital Spy, 13 August 2005
  2. ^ Paul O'Grady quits Unreality TV
  3. ^ Wilson, Glenn. "The pressure of sudden TV stardom". BBC News. Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Britain's Got Cruelty". Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Kelly Brook named Britain's Got Talent judge". Daily Telegraph. 14 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  6. ^ "Kelly Brook Axed From Britain's Got Talent". The Mirror. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  7. ^ Talent show singer is online hit, BBC
  8. ^ “Singing Talent of Susan Boyle Stuns Simon Cowell, Times of London
  9. ^ “Britain’s got talent hits high note,’ Guardian
  10. ^ "An unlikely star brings smiles to views, NBC Nightly News
  11. ^ "Middle-aged Scottish woman is unlikely instant singing star after reality TV appearance, LA Times
  12. ^ Le Monde – Susan Boyle, chanteuse en herbe et vedette sur le Web
  13. ^ L'Express – Susan Boyle, la révélation de "Britain's got talent"
  14. ^ Le Figaro – La gloire surprise de Susan Boyle
  15. ^ Susan Boyle admitted to Priory
  16. ^ Willaim hill Fortune made by bookmakers
  17. ^ "Britain's Got Talent: sneak peek at the Glasgow auditionees". 18 January 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "Piers, Ant and Dec in Cardiff". Wales Online. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  19. ^ [ "Britain's Got Talent: Simon Cowell is ill". 4 February 2010. 
  20. ^ "Certified Awards Search". 

External links

Simple English

Britain's Got Talent
Genre Reality, Talent Show, Entertainment
Created by Simon Cowell & Syco TV
Presented by Britain's Got Talent:
Ant & Dec
Britain's Got More Talent:
Stephen Mulhern
Judges Simon Cowell
Amanda Holden
Piers Morgan
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3
Producer(s) SYCO TV in association with talkbackTHAMES
Running time 60-90 minutes (inc. comms)
Original channel ITV
Picture format 16:9
Original run 9 June 2007 – present

Britain's Got Talent is a British television show on ITV and part of the Got Talent series. The show is presented by Ant & Dec, and the three judges are Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan and Amanda Hordon.

The winner of the show performs in front of the Queen on the Royal Variety Show, the latest being spell bound.


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