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Dear BGT, please don't tell me who I should or shouldn't make fun of

"Why is one person deemed entertaining while someone else no more or less talented is treated like a laughing stock?"

Published: Saturday, 21st May 2016 at 11:00 am

Dear Britain’s Got Talent,


Have I told you lately that I love you?

Every Saturday night for the past few weeks you’ve provided me with quality entertainment. You’ve made me laugh, cry, cheer and cringe in equal measure, as a whole host of talented acts traipsed across my TV screen via your stage.

I nipped to the kitchen to make a cup of tea because I wasn’t able to bear the suspense when that sword swallowing man climbed to the top of a pole and slid down. “Has he done it yet? Is it over?”, I called to the brave souls still sitting on the sofa, with my back to the TV screen and my hands over my ears.

I stared in awe as the pair of sensational dancers brought wonderful scenes to life on a seemingly magical screen. And I laughed my little heart out when an unassuming young man sang Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball with the voice of Kermit The Frog.

That’s why I was so disappointed that an otherwise brilliant 10th series was peppered with a little touch of nastiness. Why oh why, BGT, did you try to tell me who I should make fun of? Why did you make assumptions for me when it came to certain contestants?

Every talent show needs its mix of superstars and zany acts – that’s entertainment, as the old song goes. But, after more than a decade of Saturday and Sunday night voting, aren’t we done with making fun of people for being a bit different? Haven’t we come on a bit since then?

This year I feel as though you’ve had double standards, BGT. You celebrated wonderful characters like Ian and Anne Marshall (David Walliams gave them his Golden Buzzer in a gloriously good humoured sequence that made my Saturday night) but then opted for music and lines of questioning that assumed we’d think others were just odd eggs.

Did it REALLY matter, for instance, whether or not circuit board player Jake Rothman was married? Were we supposed to think it a shock that he would be? Were we supposed to find his answer surprising or funny?

The first thing I thought when he was asked that question was “they want me to think this bloke who plays a circuit board is too eccentric to ever have a wife and kids”.

And why did we have so much negativity for Clyde Parry, a man who could clearly sing but chose a silly backing track?

I’m not saying everyone should get through to the next round, nor that we shouldn't find some things a bit funny, I’m just a little bit confused when it comes to the decision making.

Why is one person deemed entertaining while someone else no more or less talented is treated like a laughing stock? That’s a question that’s only come to me after watching for a decade.

Don’t get me wrong BGT, I love you, I really do, but as society becomes more sensitive to issues of inclusivity, diversity and mental health, I think it’d be a shame for you to continue down that road.

You are, for the majority, so good at celebrating the weird and wonderful – just take Rick Schmull and Miaow Miaow for example.

Or David Forest’s classic never ending song.

Celebrating the diversity of the UK and Ireland is something you have always been praised for BGT.

So please don’t lose that precious virtue. Don’t ask those leading questions about someone’s personal life. Don’t think that I’ll assume that man won’t be married. Don't make his act about something other than his act.

And don’t try to tell me who I should make fun of.


Love, Sarah.


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