“The BBC Need To Get Their Sense Of Humour Back” ..BGT Press Launch Coverage

We got ourselves down to the Britain’s Got Talent launch yesterday and after watching the opening episode, we were treated to an entertaining Q&A session with Amanda Holden, new judges Alisha Dixon and David Walliams, and Simon Cowell himself, who questioned the Beeb’s motives for starting another Saturday night ratings war and whether TV needed another singing competition. As you can imagine, questions about Tulisa were all kinds of banned…

*Can BGT rediscover itself? Read our episode one review*

Hi Simon, are you going to watch The Voice?
SC: I might watch five minutes and then switch it off. Are you going to watch it?”

I have to..
SC: I wouldn’t bother..

Simon you said you wanted to punish the BBC by signing Alisha. What exactly did the BBC do?
SC: That was all just a bit of fun. I approached Alisha to join X Factor some time ago and we couldn’t quite get past the finishing post so when we decided to make it four people on the panel I thought I’d love Alisha to join. Part of me also thought that there was so much rivalry between Strictly and X Factor, they’re always messing around with the schedule and The Voice was 100% intended to be a competing show with X Factor, so I thought “great – we’ll nick Alisha”.

Is the BBC not in the business of doing those type of talent shows?
SC: Of course they’re in the business of doing it, but when you get to the point when you’re messing around with the schedules and affecting the viewers, that to me is silly rivalry. I love competition, but if you ask the BBC if we need another singing competition, I would query whether we do or not. I think they just don’t like the fact that the X Factor is successful. They have every right to compete with us and I have every right to arm ourselves so that we’re in a good position to beat them.

Alisha, do you miss Strictly..
AD: I had an incredible time on Strictly but I don’t miss it. It’s a different vibe on this show and I feel like I’ve come into myself..
Would you have moved if it was the same amount of money?
AD: It’s not about the money. It’s about doing something different. Honestly! I don’t make decisions based on money. I think for me it was time for a change and it’s been a great change, the chemistry’s been brilliant and I don’t have any regrets.

Simon what made you pick Carmen Electra to step in for Amanda while she was having her baby? Do you think Amanda’s got anything to worry about?
AH: I can answer that – No! I don’t think I’ve got anything to worry about.
SC: I met Carmen in America, I really liked her and I liked the idea of an American coming here and viewing it all through a different perspective actually makes it quite funny. She’s an actress..
DW: Is she?!
SC: She didn’t get on great with David and Alesha..
AD: We tried.
DW: We tried to talk to her and she just flicked through magazines..
AD: Even though our names were in big bold letters on the wall she didn’t know who we were.. (much laughter)

David, there’s been a lot made of your bromance with Simon, is Lara jealous?
DW: Lara’s a bit jealous because every time I come back from work and say “Guess what Simon did today! Guess what Simon said today!” ..and she doesn’t like it much (laughs). I’ve also cut her out of my wedding photos and put Simon’s face in her place. Then when I started asking if I could call her Simon she started getting even more annoyed.. and she’s wearing the mask of course.. (more laughter).
SC: It’s been a rather entertaining relationship. It’s like a dog my parents had that used to hump my leg! You know that sketch in Little Britain with the Prime Minister and the gay assistant? That is our relationship..

The people at The Voice have been going on about the credibility of their show. Is that an issue for you guys?
AD: The only thing that’s credible is success..
SC: Absolutely. I think they’ve got to get their sense of humour back. Today for instance there was a story that I offered Tom Jones a role on one of my shows. I’ve only met him once in Vegas and I think what he’s thinking about is Opportunity Knocks, which isn’t one of my shows, so they’ve got the dates confused. They’ve been winding the whole thing up and building it up as a battle and it’s not, the show’s go out at the same time and may the better one win. I tell you what though, I’ll back my talent against theirs..
DW: Well I think Susan Boyle was the biggest thing to come out of BGT and she’s sold 30 million odd albums. I think that answers your question Boyd Hilton of heat magazine.. (yet more laughter)