Britain's Got Talent is back for its 12th series this weekend and the only judge to have appeared on every series is stage and screen actress Amanda Holden.
Keep reading for all Amanda's gossip about the new series and a strange fancy dress outfit she wore for her husband.
How does it feel to be the only judge to have done every series of Britain’s Got Talent?
I’m always pleased to be back and extremely grateful. When you get a phone call to tie you into a show like this you think five years is good, so to be here with my zimmer frame 12 years later is an amazing feeling for me.
Would you say you always have fun with Stephen Mulhern, Ant and Dec and the other judges backstage?
Yes, there’s a genuine, natural, rapport and chemistry between us. We’ve all got a really good sense of humour. We take the mick out of each other, nothing’s taken seriously, if anyone’s in a mood we cheer them up. When it comes to Simon, we’re the court jesters and he’s the king.
[BGT series 1 - Judges Piers Morgan, Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden]
You’ve travelled together on a private jet to auditions, give us some gossip from the plane…
It’s sort of fun! It used to be that Alesha and I would sit with Simon and David but now Ant and Dec are involved, all the boys sit down one end but me and Alesha have more fun because we’re up the other end with the PAs and we’ve got the chocolates, bags of crisps and red wine, screaming with laughter. I think they all talk business down the other end. So unless their voices lower, that’s when me and Alesha go down to make sure we’re not missing any gossip, I think we have more fun anyway!
How insufferable is David now he’s a two time ‘Best TV Judge’ winner at the NTAs?
I think Simon’s taken it well, considering and David is banging on about it constantly as you would expect. He’s brought them to auditions and uses them as weights most days. I have to say, I’m thrilled for David. He is brilliant and he has changed the show, he’s added more humour to it. I sat next to Simon the other week and he was wrapped in toilet paper and I just thought, ‘This would never have happened 10 years ago with me and Piers Morgan!’. I took so many pictures of him, I couldn’t get over it - toilet paper man, Andrex man, you can think of loads of hashtags for it. I’ve known Simon for such a long time and he has a really naughty, brilliant, mischievous sense of humour, very witty. I think having David on the end has brought it out of him because he’s had some competition.
What have the auditions been like to film this year?
The audition tour has almost been too good. We’ve said yes to so much stuff, it’s been incredible. I went on holiday with my family afterwards, and I said to Chris how phenomenal it’s been and he reminded me that actually the water cooler moments, the moments of Britain’s Got Talent you never forget, are the unusual acts. It’s the off the wall, out of the box, silly stuff that shapes our show.
Can you predict a winner?
I’d never have predicted Tokio. He was so cool and so diverse that I wouldn’t have thought he was typical for our audience. So I just don’t think you can predict what the mood of the public is.
What can you reveal about your golden buzzer?
I pressed it on the first day in Blackpool and that’s not something I would have predicted. I thought I would have played a longer game. I thought I’d be paranoid that I would miss out on so much more. But you have to go with the feeling in your tummy and I got that feeling. I had to press my golden buzzer. It was right in the moment; the man did an amazing rendition of his song. For me, he was in absolutely the right time, the right moment, the right person.
I can’t wait to see what he does in the live shows.
One of the funniest moments from auditions that landed the judges in hot water with producers was when you all caused chaos on stage, tell us about that…
That was amazing! This poor guy was on stage and we could see that he has plates lined up and he was playing Greek music. All of a sudden David gets on the stage and so I said to Alesha, ‘Do you know what? Let’s get on the stage as well’. It turned into the end of Bugsy Malone, where they have splurge guns except we were using crockery! It was carnage, there was water everywhere, I threw peanuts, Simon threw mugs, it was an absolute mess at the end. I turned to the right and saw the exec with her hands on her hips starring at us like a headmistress. I went hot and was like, ‘Oh god, we’re going to get done!’.
It seems there’s a theme because you all stormed the stage in Manchester too…
Oh DJ Murray Mint, that all went mental as well. A cheese board came out! I ate a piece of cheese, I mean, that’s shocking in itself! I only ever eat avocado and spinach! He was a DJ with cheesy songs and we all did the routines and got into the vibe. When we get to let our hair down it’s phenomenal. The fact we’re all up for it and game for a laugh, we don’t care if our outfits get messed up or we break a nail, I mean, Alesha and I like to look good but we’re not girly girls, we want to have fun and oh my god, we all had fun.
There was a comic who left Simon completely confused with his jokes…
There was a very funny comedian who was observational and talked about everyday life, including going to a supermarket and he had a song about bags for life. Simon leaned over to me and went, ‘What is a bag for life?’. I looked at him and was like, ‘Well, you have a choice, you can either buy a bag for 5p or a bump it up and get one for 10p but if I’m being honest I use those ones to collect dog poo…’ and he goes, ‘Amanda!’ It was a very funny moment. Then later on I had to explain to him about how you get your pound back on a trolley - that was also another phenomenon for him. But he orders fish and chips and baked beans on toast so we all think he’s a man of the people! He’s changed!
So he was genuinely baffled by these everyday things?
Oh yeah, genuinely baffled! Do you know he cycles around London now? He’s got a bike! He’s gone very green. Maybe we should see if he can balance carrier bags on his handle bars like the rest of us have done in the past.
Apparently there was an extra Simon in Blackpool?
Yes, Alesha and I walked into the judge room at Blackpool and had to do a double take because they had Simon, Ant and Dec’s waxworks in there. But they were slightly disarming in the fact they were at least 15 years old so it was quite obvious and Simon’s didn’t have any body hair! I put a banana down his trousers because I knew that would be the first place David looked, and he literally put his hand on Simon’s crotch the minute he walked in and got a shock! Simon sat down next to it and kept going on about how
handsome he was...
We’ve had quite a few choirs this year and one that really made you emotional was called B - Positive, what was it about them that upset you?
It was very dramatic for me; the National Health Service has had a massive impact on my family. I champion them all the time. I did hemorrhage so blood donors saved my life. So when this choir came on wanting to raise awareness, specifically there to talk about getting more Afro-Caribbean people to donate their blood, I found it really emotional and thought what an amazing way it was to raise awareness of sickle cell and donating blood in general.
You’ve been asking the contestants some random questions this year, so which famous person would you like to be for the day and what would you do?
If I could be someone famous for the day I’d be Dolly Parton. I love her, she’s so talented. I went to see her live at Wembley, she’s brilliant, very funny. I’d just love to get inside her mind for the day.
What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?
I couldn’t possibly tell you that! One of the weirdest things I’ve ever done was when my husband confessed to me years ago that he wanted to meet Paddington Bear. This was before the movies. So on his birthday I hired a Paddington Bear costume, went out the house and came back in it. I burst through the door and danced to YMCA. He had no idea who I was! That was the most surreal thing I have ever done.
If you had a superpower what would it be?
I want to be able to have a bionic ear and hear what everyone’s saying. I’d spy on everyone. I’d be in Simon’s office, my agent’s
office, I’d be at 10 Downing Street and I’d be in Jeremy Hunt’s office. I’d be everywhere, a fly with a big ear.
Has the success you’ve had in your career lived up what you thought it would be when you were starting out?
When I first started out I just wanted to be an actress who worked. Now I’ve been in the industry for 25 years. I worked and got an agent straight from drama school which was a feat in itself. I would say my career has taken a completely different path to where I thought it was going to go, in a huge way. I never thought this would happen to me, it’s like winning the lottery. Everything changes. For my lifestyle to the education my children are having, the fact I can do what I want when I want and can treat my family - it’s amazing. I’m really grateful for it. I will never forget standing on stage looking out to a dark auditorium, with a piece of paper in my hands shaking - I’ll never forget that feeling of auditioning. It’s brilliant and it’s horrible and it’s fabulous, all in one go. When it’s over it’s the biggest relief and then the biggest euphoria when you get the call to say you’ve got the job.
Britain’s Got Talent airs on Saturday 14th April, 8pm on ITV.
Set BGT to series record on your BT box and catch up on BT TV via the ITV Hub app.