Britain’s Got Talent: Who are the judges?

They're back for a ninth successive series, but who are the panel of variety show experts who’ll be selecting acts once more in 2020?

By Katie Archer Published: 9 April 2020 - 11.41am
ITV

Britain’s Got Talent can boast the most stable, and the friendliest judging panel on TV – the line-up, which returns for the show's 13th series on April 11, hasn’t changed in nine years.

Once again, Simon Cowell is taking his place at the judges’ desk alongside Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams.

Here’s all you need to know about the TV contest’s jury of light entertainment experts.

Simon Cowell

Head judge Simon is the maestro of the show and the judge that every act wants to impress, whether they love him or loathe him.

Simon’s been present for every single series of Britain’s Got Talent, with a varying line-up of other celebrity judges joining him. 

Aside from putting the variety acts through their paces, Simon is best known for his head judge role on another ITV talent show, the X Factor, where he’s only ever missed a couple of series but has always remained in charge, even if off screen.

He’s a big deal Stateside, too, with regular gigs in charge of American Idol and America’s Got Talent.

Famed for his sharp tongue, quick temper, and being difficult to impress, BGT is the one show where Simon seems to relax a bit, particularly since signing up David Walliams who spends most of his time poking fun at Simon.

Host Ant McPartlin even thinks Simon has mellowed since the birth of his son Eric (pictured on set with his father, above) and is now more likely to approve of novelty acts that he was before he was a dad.

Amanda Holden

It wouldn’t be Britain’s Got Talent without Amanda, who has served as Simon’s right-hand woman since series one.

With a love for musical theatre and a background on the stage, Amanda usually favours acts that fall into those categories – although just like her fellow judges, she can’t resist a dog act.

Amanda’s well-known for her TV roles in hairdressing drama Cutting It, family adventure Wild at Heart, and circus sitcom Big Top.

She has also been nominated for an Olivier Award for best actress in Thoroughly Modern Millie and starred as Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical, so this is the mentor you want if you’re harbouring dreams of being on the stage.

Alesha Dixon

Singer, MC and former Strictly Come Dancing winner Alesha has occupied the third judge’s seat since series six.

The former Mis-Teeq star and successful solo artist can offer expert guidance to singing groups and dance troupes, and appeals to a younger audience than the other three judges.

Her time on Strictly, where she also served as a judge after winning, has given her insight into the ballroom and Latin acts who often grace the stage, adding an extra string to her bow.

Simon was reportedly keen to sign up Alesha to a full-time role on the X Factor after she appeared as a guest judge on the show, but Alesha has always said her first love is BGT.

Earlier this year, she joined Simon, model Heidi Klum and comedian Howie Mandel on the judging panel of America’s Got Talent: The Champions (above), which pitted finalists of the global ‘Got Talent’ shows – including Britain’s own Connie Talbot and Collabro - against each other to find a champion of champions.

Her raucous laugh, friendship with Amanda, and willingness to get up and dance to almost anything have made her a popular judge.

David Walliams

BGT hasn’t always featured a fourth judge – the end seat was added in series five when David Hasselhoff joined the panel for a single series.

Since David signed up for season six and made his debut alongisde Alesha, he has never failed to lighten the atmosphere and has produced quite a few outrageous moments in the process.

Of course, any stand-ups or comedy acts are keen to impress David, but those who fall into wild card territory could find a champion in him as he’s been known to choose some truly bizarre Golden Buzzer acts.

Little Britain star and children’s author David is just about the only person who can get away with making fun of Simon, and fans love his sense of humour so much that they must be dreading the day he doesn’t renew his contract.

Who else has judged BGT?

Odd as it seems now, the third judge who sat alongside Simon and Amanda for the first four series of BGT was former tabloid editor and outspoken Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan.

He was replaced by comedian Michael McIntyre for series five, but despite being an incredibly popular TV star at the time, somehow his humour didn’t quite translate to the role in the same way that David’s does.

Baywatch and Knight Rider legend David Hasselhoff also joined series five for a single run, but although his role on the panel didn’t last long, he did gain a new wife: he met Hayley Roberts in Cardiff while he was filming auditions in the Welsh capital, and the couple married in 2018.

Other guest judges over the years have included Kelly Brook, Louis Walsh and Carmen Electra, and of course hosts Ant and Dec get a Golden Buzzer choice each year, too.

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