Where are Britain’s Got Talent’s live shows filmed?
In 2018, BGT moved out of a TV studio for the first time and instead the live shows were held at Hammersmith Apollo in London.
Although the staging looked amazing, the broadcast didn’t always go so smoothly. During bad weather in the first semi-final, the live show dropped off air for over 10 minutes. Oops.
“It has to be in a theatre and I’ll tell you why,” explained Simon ahead of BGT’s 12th series in 2018. “We go into a studio and make it look like a theatre, it’s like buying a Mini and trying to make it look like a Rolls Royce! There’s something about the theatre element
“So whenever we do the live shows in a studio, something, that gloss, glow, whatever you want to call it, is missing for me. So I’m thrilled because this year I have got my own way…again.”
Whether they’ll be back at the Apollo after the technical difficulties of last series remains to be seen…
How do I audition for Britain’s Got Talent?
Applications are already open for BGT 2019, and all the information you need to enter the show can be found here.
Britain’s Got Talent (often abbreviated to BGT) is a televised British talent show competition, broadcast on ITV. It is a part of the global Got Talent franchise created by Simon Cowell, and is produced by both Thames (formerly Talkback Thames) and Syco Entertainment production, with its distribution handled by Fremantle. Since its premiere in June 2007, each series has been aired in late Spring/early Summer, and hosted by Ant & Dec. To accompany each series since it first began, a sister show is run on ITV2 entitled Britain’s Got More Talent presented by Stephen Mulhern. Initially planned for 2005 before the first series of America’s Got Talent, a dispute between Paul O’Grady, the originally conceived host of the programme, and the broadcaster, led to production being suspended until 2007.
Contestants of any age, who possess some sort of talent, can audition for the show. Those that enter for a series, perform before a panel of judges to secure a place in the live episodes – the current lineup consists of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, and David Walliams. Those that make it through the auditions compete against other acts in a series of live semi-finals, with the winning two acts of each semi-final proceeding into the show’s live final. The prize for winning the contest is a cash prize (the amount varying over the show’s history), and an opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in front of members of the British Royal Family, including either Queen Elizabeth II or the Prince of Wales. To date, the show has had twelve winners, ranging from musicians and singers to variety acts, magicians and dancers.
The show holds two rounds of auditions for contestants. The first round, referred to as the “open auditions”, are held across several different cities around the UK during the Autumn months. The second round, referred to as the “Judges’ Auditions”, are held the following year during January and February, prior to the broadcast of the show later that year during spring or early summer – these auditions consists of the contestants who made it through the first round, and are held within a select set of cities, which has commonly included Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London. For the Judges’ Auditions, each site used for these is located within a theatre or convention hall. These sites are primarily chosen for the purpose of having facilities that can handle large volumes of contestants, with each set up into three arrangements when auditions are taking place: a waiting area for contestants to prepare and await their turn to perform, with monitors to allow them to see the performances of other contestants; the wings, where a contestant enters and leaves from, and where friends and family of the contestant can view them from; and the main stage, where the contestant performs their act before the judging panel, who are located in front of the stage. The main stage area is usually modified to include the judges’ panel desk, along with a special lighting rig above the stage, consisting of Xs that each have the name of a judge under them.
Each contestant that auditions is given a number by the production team and remains in the waiting area until called out into the wings, giving them a certain amount of time to prepare their act. Upon being allowed onto the main stage, they will usually be asked by one of the judges for their name and what they plan to perform, along with other details such as age, occupation, personal background, and what they wish to achieve if they won. After this, they are then given three minutes to conduct their performance before both the judges and a live audience, with some acts being supported by a backing track provided by the production team. If at any time, the judges find the performance to be unconvincing, boring or completely wrong, they may use the buzzer before them, which changes the Xs from white to red; if all the judges press their buzzers, then the performance is immediately over. However, a judge can retract their buzzer’s use if they felt they had done so prematurely before witnessing a contest’s performance to the end; this is true if the performance appears to look bad, but later turns out to have been good in their eyes.
Once a performance is over, each judge will give an overview of what they thought about the act, before casting a vote. If the contestant(s) receives a majority vote of “Yes”, they then proceed onto the next stage in the contest, otherwise they are eliminated from that series’ contest. In Series 8, a new feature was added to the auditions, which had been previously used on Germany’s Got Talent, called the “Golden Buzzer”. Situated in the centre of the judges’ desk, the Golden Buzzer allows a judge to effectively send the contestant(s) into the live semi-finals, regardless of the opinions of the other judges, if they felt that a contestant’s performance was outstanding; when pressed, the judge’s X turns gold and the stage is showered in gold glitter strips. However, as a general rule, they may only press it once per series and cannot press it again in later auditions; the hosts of Britain’s Got Talent may also press the Golden Buzzer for a contestant, but must also adhere to the same rule.