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Britain's Got Talent is a Britishmarker 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 Scotswoman Susan Boyle, whose audition performance of I Dreamed a Dream sparked an internet sensation, ended up in second place.


It is the creation of The X Factor creator and 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 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.


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 that lights a red X near them. If all the judges press their buzzers, the act ends immediately. To advance to the second round, auditionees needed to 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 semi-finals.

The semi-final and final shows are broadcast live from Fountain Studiosmarker in Wembleymarker (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.

Judges and presenters


Years Presenter Show
2007-present Ant & Dec Main show
2007-present Stephen Mulhern "Britain's Got More Talent "
2008-present Stephen Mulhern "Britain's Got Talent: The Live Tour "


Years Judge
2007-present Simon Cowell
2007-present Amanda Holden
2007-present Piers Morgan
2009 (Guest Judge in Manchester) Kelly Brook

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 Scotlandmarker 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, singer Andrew Muir, Kate and Gin and electric violin players Escala originally named Scala.

Series Three

As announced at the end of Series 2, Britain's Got Talent returned on 11 April 2009. 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, but was fired after just six days, having acted as a judge in Manchester only, just one of the five audition venues.

The application process took place throughout January and February 2009 with auditions being held in five of Britain's major cities: Manchestermarker for three days, where the judges saw a total of 120 auditionees; Glasgowmarker for one day, viewing a total of 40 auditionees; Birminghammarker for three days, watching a further 120 auditionees; Londonmarker for three days, seeing 128 acts; and Cardiffmarker 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 kicked off on 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. 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. It is highly thought that this media coverage led to Susan Boyle being admitted to the psychiatric clinic The Priory

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.

Series Four

As announced at the end of series three, 'Britain's Got Talent' will return for another series. The show is currently in the non-televised audition stages.

Awards and Nominations

Britain's Got Talent has been nominated for 2 '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 2 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 4 Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards from 5 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

Live tour 2008 and 2009

On 17 April 2008 it was announced that a 13-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 22 performances, including matinées. The tour featured all 10 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 Newcastlemarker, Cardiffmarker, Liverpoolmarker and in Manchestermarker. More dates were later added and the tour will run for 18 shows from 12 to 26 June 2009 and will also travel to Dublinmarker (Irelandmarker), Birminghammarker, Belfastmarker, Sheffieldmarker, Glasgowmarker, Edinburghmarker, Nottinghammarker, Wembley Arenamarker, Aberdeenmarker and Bournemouthmarker.

The tour in 2009 included these acts: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. Stephen Mulhern presented the show.

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. O'Grady to host prime-time talent show Digital Spy, 13 August 2005
  2. Paul O'Grady quits Unreality TV
  3. Talent show singer is online hit, BBC
  4. “Singing Talent of Susan Boyle Stuns Simon Cowell, Times of London
  5. “Britain’s got talent hits high note,’ Guardian
  6. "An unlikely star brings smiles to views, NBC Nightly News
  7. "Middle-aged Scottish woman is unlikely instant singing star after reality TV appearance, LA Times
  8. Le Monde - Susan Boyle, chanteuse en herbe et vedette sur le Web
  9. L'Express - Susan Boyle, la révélation de "Britain's got talent"
  10. Le Figaro - La gloire surprise de Susan Boyle
  11. Susan Boyle admitted to Priory
  12. Willaim hill Fortune made by bookmakers

External links

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