Britain’s Got Talent is back for its 16th series

Saturday: Britain’s Got Talent (ITV, 8pm)
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Britain’s Got Talent is back for its 16th series, and in theory, we should all know the drill by now.

However, as this first episode gets under way, viewers may notice a couple of differences.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For a start, the auditions took place in London and Manchester for the first time since before the pandemic. We’re also promised that the calibre of the hopefuls is higher than ever (although some more cynical BGT watchers may feel like they’ve heard that one before).

The most noticeable difference though is on the judges’ panel, where David Walliams has been replaced by Bruno Tonioli.

He may be new to this show, but Bruno is of course an old hand when it comes to judging Saturday-night ratings juggernauts. The Italian-born dancer and choreographer had worked with many showbiz legends over the course of his career, including Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones and Elton John (you can spot him in the video for I’m Still Standing), but he became a celebrity in his own right when he was chosen to be a judge on Strictly Come Dancing in 2004.

He proved so popular with viewers, he was also recruited for the US version, Dancing with the Stars, when it launched the following year. Sadly, juggling both shows proved difficult when the pandemic hit, and travel restrictions meant he had to step down from the British version.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Luckily, it seems Simon Cowell thought Saturday night TV was missing something without the effusive Italian and has snapped him up.

As far as Alesha Dixon, who also made the move from Strictly to BGT is concerned, it was a good decision. Speaking on the BBC show Saturday Kitchen, she said: “Being the family that we were for 10 years, it felt strange at the beginning, it’s like a new normal, a new energy. But Bruno did fantastically well.

“I think it’s quite difficult coming in as the newbie, but he came with all his energy and pizzazz and the audience loved him.”

It won’t come as a huge surprise to Strictly fans, who know how difficult it could be for the Italian to stay in his seat, to learn that sometimes Bruno’s enthusiasm threatened to run away with him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alesha explains: “We had eight golden buzzers this year, which we’ve never had on any series, because the talent was that outstanding.

Ant & Dec and Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell and Bruno TonioliAnt & Dec and Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell and Bruno Tonioli
Ant & Dec and Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell and Bruno Tonioli

“Bruno pressed it within the first 10 to 15 seconds of the act. All the rules went out the window, but actually that became the theme of the series. It was great.

“We just threw the rulebook out and it was like anything goes, which made it quite fun.”

So, it seems we shouldn’t worry about Bruno having any nerves or difficulties settling in during this first episode.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But if he does need any pointers, he has Alesha and returning judges Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell for help, as well as returning presenters Ant and Dec, as they welcome more hopefuls to the stage, all competing for a place at the Royal Variety Show.