As a new series of Britian’s Got Talent hits the screens, and the search for the new Susan Boyle takes shape, TV presenter, awards host and after dinner speaker Stephen Mulhern takes the reins of the spinoff, Britain’s Got More Talent – a behind the scenes look at the popular show.
Stephen talks to Metro about the highs and lows of working on one of the UKs most successful TV shows ever.
Who has been your favourite act on the talent show?
Paul Potts. SuBo had phenomenal success but Paul was the first. He was a surprise for everyone involved in the show and proved that anyone who enters has a chance.
He isn’t up to much these days, though, is he?
He’s still touring the world. He’s just done a gig in Tokyo, which isn’t bad because he used to be a phone salesman.
How are the new judges working out?
David Hasselhoff was a lot firmer than I thought he’d be. He wasn’t bothered about telling young kids they weren’t ready and their act wasn’t good enough. Michael [McIntyre] seemed quite nervous and buzzed in last a lot when he first started but he’s a good judge. He’s got a lot of experience working with live audiences and gives good, constructive criticism.
Didn’t he make a young boy cry and leave him traumatised?
That story was absolute nonsense. He didn’t cry. There was a moment when he nearly cried but he was fine afterwards.
Any other surprises?
David’s up for a laugh. He’d turn up wearing things like a Union Jack jacket. I’d ask him where he got it and he wouldn’t tell me because he said I’d just go and get one myself. Trust me, David, I wouldn’t have. When Simon [Cowell] and Piers [Morgan] left, they were such big personalities we didn’t know how we’d replace them but the new line-up works amazingly well. It gives us a chance to do new things with them. We’ve got a new feature called The Hoffice – we’ve got footage of David talking into his watch like he did on Knight Rider or putting his hairdryer on and blowing the bulbs in his dressing room. He says things like ‘I’m getting a cup of Hoffee’, which I think is amazing.
What’s been your worst moment on stage?
When I was doing a show in Blackpool. I got a man out of the audience, asked him to get money out of his wallet, a note, sign it, then I’d burn it and make it reappear. As he got his £20 note out, this very large lady stormed on to the stage and shouted: ‘Where did you get that? You said you didn’t have anything when I wanted a burger,’ snatched the money and slapped his face. It was a packed audience and she made no bones about it.
Have you had a supernatural experience?
I could sit in front of you and tell you things about yourself like fortune tellers do and if you wanted to think it was supernatural, you would do – but it’s a trick. You can learn how to do it and if you have the confidence to pull it off, you’ll make people believe you. Do I believe in it? Absolutely not.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
Working in a burger van on the side of a motorway in Canning Town. It wasn’t even a classy burger van and I’d go home smelling of fat. The worst thing was that my dad owned it.
Did anyone take getting caked on Ministry Of Mayhem the wrong way?
The worst one wasn’t a celebrity, it was actually a bloke dressed up as Father Christmas. It was our Christmas special and maybe caking Santa Claus really wasn’t the right thing to do but he got the hump and picked up this huge cake we had. It was more of a prop – it was a huge, rock-solid wedding cake that had been there for weeks – and he went to throw it into Holly Willoughby’s face. Fortunately it missed her because if it had connected it would have broken her nose.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017