Richard Wilson brands The X Factor “cruel”

One Foot in the Grave star speaks out about Simon Cowell's TV formats

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One Foot in the Grave star Richard Wilson has hit out at ITV’s hugely popular talent show The X Factor, branding Simon Cowell’s song-and-dance fest “cruel”.

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“I used to watch The X Factor but since the auditions became public, it just seems cruel,” said the actor. “I went to the filming once – that raw emotion was interesting from an acting point of view.

“In its heyday, it was exciting…but now it’s so cynical. You can see the wheels turning.”

When asked about the state of British television, Wilson had more criticism for Cowell, blaming the media mogul for filling the airwaves with “vacuous programmes like Red or Black?, which is just a silly party game.”

“[British TV]’s in a bad state insofar as there are so many stupid, desperate reality shows,” complained the erstwhile Victor Meldrew.

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Don’t miss the rest of Richard’s interview, in which he touches on presenting documentaries, his political views and technology, in this week’s Radio Times.