Simon Cowell feared BGT might not return this year amid pandemic

Simon Cowell has said he feared Britain’s Got Talent might not return to screens this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The popular talent series was one of many forced to halt production but will return for the semi-finals on September 5.

Music mogul Cowell, who has been replaced by Diversity star Ashley Banjo on the judging panel after breaking parts of his back, said he initially doubted the show could be made during the pandemic.

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Speaking before his injury, he said: “Yeah, for a moment but then I thought, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’.

“I just thought that if we can talk to each other all over the world on something like Zoom then there must be a way for us to do the live shows.

“I don’t want to give too much away but when you watch the semi-finals and final you’re going to see something you’ve never seen before, it’s very high tech.

“It’s been very stimulating putting the whole thing together.”

Shooting Star Ball
Shooting Star Ball

Cowell, 60, recalled the pre-recorded audition stages airing during the first months of the pandemic.

He said: “I remember watching the first cut of the first audition episode and thinking how perfect it was to escape from all the craziness of Covid for a moment.

“It was sad when we had to put the last audition show out not knowing if we would definitely get to do the remaining semi-final shows.

“But we are all really excited to complete the series and celebrate our BGT winner.”

Banjo joins regular judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams after Cowell broke his back in a number of places when he fell off a new electric bike he was testing at his house in Malibu.

He was taken to hospital for treatment, which involved a number of procedures including having a metal rod put in his back.

Joking about social distancing, he said: “I think we’re going to have the longest judges’ desk in the world to make sure everyone has lots of space.

“That’s the plus side to come out of all this, that David has to stay far away from me for the foreseeable future.”

The final will air in October, with the winner taking home £250,000 plus a slot at the Royal Variety Performance.

The dozens of acts competing include Aidan McCann, a young magician from Ireland, and Amanda and rescue dog Miracle – a magic act from Scotland.

Some acts will take part via videolink whilst others will perform in the TV studio without a live audience.

Instead, a virtual audience will watch from their homes and their reactions will be broadcast into the studio on a giant screen.