Britain’s Got Talent returns with semi-final after coronavirus pandemic hiatus

Imogen Braddick
·2-min read
PA
PA

Britain’s Got Talent has returned to TV screens for the start of the semi-finals, which were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The auditions episodes were broadcast on ITV in the spring.

Hosts Ant and Dec opened the show by reflecting on "a strange few months" and saying how much they have missed the talent.

They performed a musical number in which they showed off a huge screen of fans watching the pre-recorded show at home, in place of a live studio audience.

The song also introduced viewers to Diversity star Ashley Banjo, who will take Simon Cowell’s place on the judging panel while the music mogul recovers from back surgery.

“We have 500 people on a huge wall in the studio and they are all sat at home watching it,” Dec told This Morning earlier this week.

"So we have an audience and they are all sat on their sofa clapping and cheering along, it’s really good."

Ant McPartlin added: “It’s tough for the acts, especially for comedians, to come out there in front of nobody, so we needed something and they’ve come up with this.”

Dec joked the show was "in danger of becoming Britain’s Got Talent 2021 if we waited much longer".

The judges were seated at socially distanced individual desks, rather than on one long desk together.

The hosts also stressed all the acts would be "following Government guidelines" and said "some acts will have created bubbles especially for the show", adding that they are in a bubble together.

They also announced a format change, saying that after all eight acts perform, the judges will choose one act to send straight to the final.

The dozens of acts to have made it through to the semi-finals include Aidan McCann, a young magician from Ireland; Amanda and rescue dog Miracle – a magic act from Scotland; the Chineke! Junior Orchestra and Class Dynamix, a choir from Leeds.

The first act to perform during the semi-finals was dance troupe Urban Turtles, who showed off their moves to a medley of tracks including I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables.

This story is being updated.