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David Walliams says becoming parents has made BGT judges more sensitive

(Jonathan Brady/PA)
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

David Walliams has said having their own children has made the Britain’s Got Talent judges “more sensitive” during the auditions.

This is the 10th year the current judging panel – featuring Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Walliams – has been together for the ITV talent show.

After being cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the show will return to screens this weekend with a double bill on Saturday and Sunday, hosted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

Speaking ahead of the show’s return, Walliams said: “I think having kids definitely changes you. I think Amanda was the only person who was a parent before.

“We’ve all got children now, I think that obviously makes us probably a bit more sensitive.

“Especially when kids come on and perform, obviously we are absolutely rooting for them thinking, ‘God, that could be our child out there’.”

Filming of the 15th series had been scheduled to begin early last year, but production was delayed before being postponed until 2022.

Britain’s Got Talent auditions – London
Simon Cowell at Britain’s Got Talent auditions at the London Palladium in January (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Music mogul Cowell said he did not like taking the show off the air for the whole of 2021 but added it made the judges “more excited” to come back with a live audience.

“All the things we (previously) took for granted. I think it felt special, different, this year,” he added.

Dixon said it clearly meant “more than ever” to the contestants to be back on stage performing after not being able to for so long.

The singer said: “It was a very emotional series. Everyone was just so happy to be there and to have the live audience. I think it was a real celebration.”

The series will feature new additions this year, including family members of the auditionees sitting behind the judges.

Holden said it was “amazing” to hear what they were thinking while their loved ones were performing, but admitted it was difficult when the act was “actually terrible”.

Golden Moments have also been introduced, which will see each judge surprise an unsuspecting act, nominated without their knowledge, and invite them to audition at the London Palladium.

Theatrical acts, shocking stunts and the coveted golden buzzer will also make a return, with Dixon teasing that dance groups have “really upped their game”.

Walliams joked that the judges like it when acts are about them as they are “all narcissists”.

He added: “We’re sat there judging on these big chairs and I think people love to see us knocked off our perch.

“So it always goes down well. You’ve got to laugh at yourself.”

Britain’s Got Talent auditions – London
Ant and Dec arrive for auditions in London (Steve Parsons/PA)

McPartlin said the vibe of this series was “one of gratitude, gratitude from us that the acts are back and gratitude from the acts to be able to perform on stage again”.

He added: “Because people haven’t worked for so long. In our industry, a lot of, especially performers and singers, didn’t have anywhere to perform, they couldn’t work during the pandemic.

“We had acts that would never have normally done the show before come down to audition, and acts who would’ve done BGT have had two years to really work on their act, so that the talent was really strong.”

Britain’s Got Talent launches on Saturday at 8pm and continues on Sunday at 7.35pm on ITV.

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