Ashley Banjo has been announced as Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent replacement following the music mogul’s horrific bike accident earlier this month.
Following the popular ITV show’s mid-series delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the next lot of episodes are expected to be filmed in the coming weeks.
However, the anticipated return received a blow when Cowell suffered a broken back after falling from an electric bike in the grounds of his Malibu home.
The 60-year-old will now be replaced by Banjo, who won the show with dance troupe Diversity in 2009.
Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, Cowell said: “Ashley will be a fantastic addition to the panel. He knows the power of the show and the responsibility of it.
“I couldn’t think of a better person to sit in my seat whilst I follow doctor’s orders. I hate that stupid bike.”
Speaking of his delight to be filling in for Cowell, Banjo added: “Walking on that stage as a 20-year-old street dancer from East London and now I am walking out there and stepping in for the big man.”
Diversity beat off stiff competition from BGT legend Susan Boyle to take the top spot in the third series of the talent competition.
Speaking of his journey on the show from unknown hopeful, to winner and now judge, Banjo said: "It feels really nice, almost poetic.”
Prior to Banjo being announced, former judge Piers Morgan was the bookmakers’ favourite to stand in for Cowell.
Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes said: “Piers is the perfect person to replace Simon during the remainder of Britain's Got Talent later on this year.”
However, the tip perhaps did not take into account the feud between Morgan, who was judge between 2007 and 2010, and current judge David Walliams.
Commenting on reports he would join despite the rivalry, Morgan tweeted: “Rivalry? That would imply a modicum of professional respect. Try ‘enmity’.”
He told The Mirror in January: “David Walliams makes my skin crawl.”
It is hoped Britain’s Got Talent will return to screens in Autumn.