Why is Britain's Got Talent always exactly the same?

Why is Britain's Got Talent always exactly the same?

How do you make an episode of Britain's Got Talent?

Start an episode like this: have Ant & Dec say 'Hi'. Show the judges taking their seats. Have somebody who is OK. Then show a montage of people being silly. Then show a sad clip. Then have that person deliver an amazing performance. Then have an advert break.

Times that by four and you have an episode of Britain's Got Talent. Times that by 13 years - yes 13 years! - and you have the entire run of Britain's Got Talent.

The only thing that has ever changed - other than trialling the different judges at the start - is the fact they now cut to random members of the audience giving their opinions even though you couldn't care less what they think.

This is what annoys me most about the show. Why does it all have to be so fake? Those audience members haven't been secretly filmed making snide remarks, you stuck a massive camera in the face. The producers know who's going to be amazing because they've seen them all before and found half of them on YouTube.

I have some symapthy with the producers here. Clearly they are repeating the same tired format because it's working. You show something emotional, have an advert break, then everyone goes on Twitter and talks about how emotional they are. The show trends and you can ask for a payrise.

When Paul Potts walked on stage and sang, that was an amazing and genuine moment. I don't know if the Susan Boyle one was set up at all. But I do know that the pressure is on for them to find another moment like this. It's great for those who want to see some amazing performances on TV. But what about those of us who just wanted to watch something fun and spontaneous?

Well that's supposed to be why we have the skits of judges making jokes and Ant & Dec getting paid big money to contribute very little. The producers know not enough people will watch a TV show about amazing performers so they have to sprinkle in some low-brow entertainment to keep the viewing figures up.

Again, that would be fine if it wasn't so see-through. The Simon/David thing was funny the first time David said "My Simon". Now it's just another part churned out by the manufacturing machine.

I'm not even complaining about that part. I like the low-brow entertainment. I do find the sob stories and great singers - which I appreciate some people love - really boring and I only ever watched it for the silly bits. I don't really understand why they ever tried to create a show which was both silly and serious at the same time. It was never going to work.

"It was never going to work." Look at me, with no experience in TV production and slagging a show which receives 10 million viewers. It does work, I have no idea why, and if I try to work it out it just depresses me.

I will say one thing though. That aftershow, Britain's Got More Talent with Stephen Mulhern. Most reality TV aftershows are a bunch of people you've never heard of trying to think of an opinion on something you don't care about. This one, though... well it's better than the real thing.

Mulhern's knowingly-awkward performance appears to have created a new outlet for people who just want to watch something a bit fun and not blatantly fake. The jokes about the show having no budget are much better than the main show throwing cash at pointless trailers.

It even manages to keep the liveliness going - just about - through the live shows. Unless you like sitting down and watching half-decent choirs and half-decent dancers - and there's nothing wrong with that if you do - just watching the after-show is a much better idea. You'll miss out on one or two decent Ant & Dec moments, and that's about it.

Tedious about the author bit

Radio producer and travel historian. I write about travel patterns, urban development, heavy machinery and lists.

I love the places people pass through along their journey, and societies that have been shaped by our need to get around.

Producer experienced with entertainment and talk shows (detail) with an attitude described as "amusingly surly".

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Any similarities with real-life events or wealthy international firms is probably coincidental. No products endorsed. I'm powered by Monster Munch.

© 2020 Johnathan Randall.