Britain’s Got Talent axed? There’s life in the old dog yet

Talk that BGT has gone to the dogs is way wide of the mark, says Mark Jefferies

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I had to suppress a smile when I saw bookmakers Ladbrokes had slashed their odds and were offering 10-1 on Britain’s Got Talent being axed.

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For me to rush to the bookies with my cash it would need to be more like 100-1 or even 1000-1.

Because for all the controversy around the style in which the doggies duped the public in the final, viewers still loved the show.

Amidst the complaints and rows and apologies over Jules and Matisse, another side story has made less impact but means more to ITV.

Ratings were up a million on the previous year.

And despite being a bit cheesy and having almost as many ad breaks as acts, the show is still in rude health after nine years.

We are talking about an 11.7million average audience and 13.4m peak in the final, for a show that features polished versions of things you would see at the end of the pier.

Cowell, who admitted today that the stunt double dog was a “massive cock up”, may wonder why BGT is holding up better than X Factor, but the truth is it feels more family orientated.

And while it is still heavy on singers, the dance acts and unpredictable other talents make it more varied.

It has genuine warmth too compared to X Factor, which concentrates more on harsh criticism and sob stories.

Where the “comic acts” of X Factor can’t get through to the finals, their equivalents can do well on BGT.

Old Men Grooving are a bit of fun novelty act that polished themselves up so well they came fourth.

And a martial arts master who is just a child can make a display of kicks and sword slashes look wonderful with the help of BGT’s production team.

So while I think BGT bosses messed up with that extra stunt pooch, the show won’t be affected long term.

There’s life in the old dog yet.

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Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror