Britain’s Got Talent have defended the show after prankster Simon Brodkin claimed the ITV talent show was “contrived” and “manipulative”.
The comedian and hoax artist revealed that he successfully worked his way on to the show by posing as a Jewish rapper called Stephen Goldblatt, eventually earning four yeses from judges Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden.
Writing for Radio Times about auditioning for the show in a bid to expose the programme, Brodkin said: “By getting through as a ridiculous contestant, I was trying to highlight that while Britain does indeed have talent, you certainly don’t need it to progress on that programme.”
Broken, known for playing character Lee Nelson, is no stranger to similar stunts having invaded Kanye West’s stage at Glastonbury, thrown cash in the face of Fifa boss Sepp Blatter in 2015 and attempted to gatecrash the England World Cup squad in 2014.
Brodkin, who pulled off the hoax for a new series on Channel 4, added in the Mirror: “A lot is recreated and manipulated. My arrival, registration and leaving were all staged. I was given direction as to how to act and they reshot each stage several times.
“Once backstage they asked me to look nervous, happy, frustrated, excited etc, filming as many emotions as possible so they have the building blocks to build their own narrative,” he added.
However, a spokesperson for Britain’s Got Talent has hit back at the claims, telling RadioTimes.com that it was “untrue” to suggest that the ITV show manipulated Brodkin’s act.
“It is not unusual for Britain’s Got Talent to work with acts to ensure their performances are suitable for family viewing,” the spokesperson said.
“On this occasion Simon Brodkin auditioned with a rap containing material we were concerned may cause offence. We subsequently found out that Simon Brodkin is a ‘comedian’ and hoaxer who promotes his act by deceiving people. It is untrue to suggest that Britain’s Got Talent manipulated Simon’s act.”
Brodkin secretly recorded himself auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent as Jewish rapper Steven Goldblatt, going through initial stages with show producers before performing in front of the four judges with patriotic rap Red, White and Blue. The footage will be shown on Channel 4 documentary Britain’s Greatest Hoaxer.
A producer for Britain’s Got Talent later spotted that the performance was a prank, and prevented ‘Steven’ from going through to the live shows.
Britain’s Greatest Hoaxer airs at 10pm on Tuesday 7 February on Channel 4