Britain’s Got Talent could be scrapped for 2021 due to COVID restrictions

Britain’s Got Talent could be scrapped in 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis, Sky News understands.

Production on the ITV show was postponed earlier in January, with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions making the popular live auditions an impossibility.

Now, producers are in talks about whether the show – hosted by Ant and Dec with judges Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams – can go ahead at all this year.

Ashley Banjo of dance troupe Diversity is a temporary judge on this series of Britain's Got Talent. Pic: Syco/ Thames/ ITV
Ashley Banjo of dance troupe Diversity was a temporary judge last year, replacing Simon Cowell. Pic: Syco/ Thames/ ITV

It is understood no decision has yet been made and conversations are still ongoing, but the large scale of the talent competition, in which hundreds of people from all over the world try out, makes it extremely difficult to run while adhering to coronavirus safety rules.

Spokespeople for ITV and producers Thames did not comment when contacted by Sky News.

When London auditions were postponed earlier this month, an ITV spokesperson said: “The filming for the 15th series of Britain’s Got Talent has been postponed from its proposed record dates in late January.

“With the announcement of the latest government health guidelines and with our priority of safeguarding the wellbeing of everyone involved in our programmes we, together with the production teams at Thames and Syco, have taken the decision to move the record and broadcast of the forthcoming series.”

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The spokesperson said at the time that they would confirm revised dates in due course.

It comes after an already turbulent 12 months for Britain’s Got Talent, with last year’s live shows also postponed due to the pandemic.

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In October, production was halted on a Christmas special after crew members tested positive for COVID-19.

Filming across the UK was halted on-and-off during 2020. While production on many shows and films had been able to resume, sets are now facing further delays due to the latest restrictions.

Last week, it was announced that ITV soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale were being paused once again.

This series of Britain’s Got Talent would have been a return for Cowell, who was forced to drop out last year after breaking his back in an electric bike accident.

Diversity dancer Ashley Banjo stepped in temporarily and later became caught in a row over a Black Lives Matter-inspired performance on the show, which attracted around 24,500 complaints.

Ofcom dismissed the complaints, saying in a report that “the performance contained no content which was racist, unsuitably violent or otherwise inappropriate in the context of this programme”.

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