The next series of Britain's Got Talent has been delayed until further notice due to rising coronavirus cases across the country.
It had been hoped the long-running reality series would start filming auditions in January as usual, but that will not be possible with most of the UK facing tough restrictions.
While some scripted dramas and smaller entertainment shows have been allowed to continue production since the pandemic began, Britain's Got Talent is too complex to go ahead safely.
Hundreds of people are involved in the production of the action-packed auditions, where the BGT judging panel watches up to 20 acts per day, many of whom travel from far afield.
In the interest of retaining the same tried and tested format, while also protecting the varied performers and crew from the risk of infection, the series has been postponed indefinitely.
An ITV spokesperson said: "The filming for the 15th series of Britain's Got Talent has been postponed from its proposed record dates in late January.
"With the announcement of the latest Government health guidelines and with our priority of safeguarding the well-being of everyone involved in our programmes we, together with the production teams at Thames and Syco, have taken the decision to move the record and broadcast of the forthcoming series.
"We will confirm revised dates in due course."
The previous series of Britain's Got Talent also faced major disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic; while the auditions were filmed prior to the health crisis, the semi-finals were delayed by several months to September.
England, Scotland and Wales are currently in lockdown, while Northern Ireland has also implemented tough restrictions, with no guarantees about when these measures may be lifted.
It is hoped things might begin to ease by March but that will be largely dependent on the effectiveness of the lockdown and vaccination programme in driving down cases of COVID-19.
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