Britain's Got Talent: Ashleigh and Pudsey to Lost Voice Guy - Where are the winners now?

Whatever happened to the past winners of BGT? We take a look back at the 13 champions and find out what they did after their talent show triumphs.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 7 April 2020 - 11.35am
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Dancing dogs, opera singers, street dancers…the Britain's Got Talent winners list is a mixed bunch, and in 2019 we saw Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery bag the top prize.

Scooping first place in the ITV talent show isn't just about getting the chance to perform in front of The Queen at the Royal Variety Performance.

Albums, films and endorsements can all follow. Although, for some acts, long-term success has proved to be elusive...

2020 is about to see a 14th series of Britain's Got Talent with the audition shows starting on Saturday, April 11th.

The Live Shows have been delayed indefinitely due to COVID-19, but everyone will be hoping that moment comes before the end of the year.

Here is our quick guide to all the BGT winners...

Series 1 (2007): Paul Potts

Paul Potts Getty

As the very first winner of Britain’s Got Talent in 2007, former mobile phone salesman and opera singer Paul Potts took the UK by storm.

His debut album One Chance went double Platinum, topping the charts in nine countries around the world. He has subsequently released six further albums.

A film biopic of Potts’ life – with James Corden in the lead role – was released in 2013. The film also starred Julie Walters, and took over $10 million at the box office.

He has reportedly made over £5 million since winning the show, and even managed to reach the final of America's Got Talent: The Champions in 2019.

Series 2 (2008): George Sampson

George Sampson Getty

George Sampson was just 14 years old when he won the second series of the show with his street dance performances.

Post-BGT, Sampson has had a varied career, with a role in the 2008 West End production of Into The Hoods, making dance DVDs and also releasing a single, Get Up On The Dance Floor – which reached number 30 in the UK chart.

Sampson has also turned his hand to acting, with major roles in BBC drama Waterloo Road and Sky’s Mount Pleasant, and landed a cameo role in Emmerdale in 2016.

In 2018, he starred in the film short Daniel Thomas and headlined the UK tour of Our House. He's also starred in the pantomimes Jack & The Beanstalk and Rapunzel.

Last year, he was a contestant on Celebrity Coach Trip with Roxanne Pallett.

Series 3 (2009): Diversity

Diversity winning Britain's Got Talent Getty

The dance troupe famously – and surprisingly – beat Susan Boyle to win the third series of the ITV talent show and have remained in the limelight ever since.

As Diversity, they have embarked on several nationwide tours, but several of the members have also enjoyed solo success.

Ashley Banjo was a judge on talent shows Dance, Dance, Dance Got To Dance, is now on the panel for Dancing on Ice, and fronts dating show Flirty Dancing; Perri Kiely won the second series of ITV’s Splash!, added Celebrity Bake Off to his list of wins in 2018 and earlier this year finished runner-up to Joe Swash in Dancing on Ice. 

Jordan Banjo has taken part in I'm a Celebrity and presented recent BBC contest The Greatest Dancer.

Diversity performed the opening segment of the BGT live shows in 2018, bringing Dec on stage in a Greatest Showman-inspired routine.

Diversity’s 10th anniversary tour, Born Ready, took place in 2019.

Series 4 (2010): Spelbound

Spelbound in action Getty

The public’s love of dance acts hadn’t waned by 2010, when gymnastic troupe Spelbound somersaulted their way to victory.

They released a DVD that same year, and performed at the London Olympics Closing Ceremony in 2012.

Spelbound performed to The Beatles' A Day in the Life in a gymnastic interpretation of the lyrics to that song. They then performed a second routine while Ray Davies performed Waterloo Sunset. The Closing Ceremony was watched by 26.3 million viewers in the UK alone.

In 2015 Spelbound performed in Paris alongside comedian Michael McIntyre for a one-off event and several of the group were involved in the celebrity gymnastics series Tumble.

Series 5 (2011): Jai McDowall

Jai McDowall Getty

The Scottish singer was the surprise winner of the fifth series of Britain’s Got Talent, beating then 12-year-old singer Ronan Parke to victory.

After only nine months, McDowall was dropped by Simon Cowell’s record label after his debut album only reached number 54 in the charts – with Cowell subsequently admitting that he wished McDowall had not won the contest.

Since then, McDowall has continued to gig across the country, and has supported former Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates on tour.

Amanda Holden mocked Jai during an episode of spin-off show More Talent, replying "Who?" when asked about the 2011 winner.

Speaking to the Radio Times in 2019, Jai said: "Work over the last eight years has been sporadic. There have been times when I’ve maybe made the wrong business choices, and there was a period when I had financial difficulties. But I’ve been lucky that I’ve got a very good core group of fans who have stuck by me and been very loyal over the past eight years.

"There have been ups and downs, but I’ve never had a boring time. I’m very grateful and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without the show."

Cowell and McDowall were reunited on the 2019 Britain's Got Talent: The Champions  series and the TV judge apologised to the singer.

“I owe you an apology for not giving you the support I should have given you at the time and I respect the fact that you have come back to make me look like an idiot and you look fantastic and I could not have been more thrilled," said Cowell.

"So here is the standing ovation that I should have given you."

McDowall replied: “You have no idea what that means.”

Series 6 (2012): Ashleigh and Pudsey

Ashleigh and Pudsey Getty

The first dog act to win Britain’s Got Talent – beating operatic duo Jonathan and Charlotte – Ashleigh Butler and her dog Pudsey have remained popular.

After winning, the pair travelled to America, where they performed on America’s Got Talent and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Pudsey starred in the TV adaptation of the book Mr Stink, alongside Hugh Bonneville, and the pair also performed in several pantomimes and theatre productions.

They were the second Britain’s Got Talent act (after Paul Potts) to have a film made about them, with Pudsey: The Movie being released in 2014. Show judge David Walliams lent his voice to Pudsey for the film.

They also appeared as judges on ITV's short-lived talent shows That Dog Can Dance hosted by Christine Bleakley and ITV2's Top Dog Model.

Pudsey is also reported to have bagged £100,000 for his debut book deal.

The pair made their final Crufts appearance with an emotional round at the 2017 competition.

In July 2017, Pudsey died aged 11 following a leukaemia diagnosis.

Paying tribute to her pet, Ashleigh wrote: "On Thursday 20th July 2017, after Pudsey’s short battle against leukaemia, I had to make the hardest decision of my life to let my beautiful boy go to sleep at the age of 11.

“From the minute he was born he brought nothing but joy to me, and as a winner of BGT millions of others who adored him too.

“No words can express just how much I will miss him.

“He changed my life and I have so many wonderful memories of our time together. He will always be in my heart.”

At the end of 2017, Ashleigh appeared on Good Morning Britain to introduce her new pet dog Sully, who she now performs with in pantomimes and dog shows.

"They were like brothers. Sully was affected by Pudsey's death… he wasn't right after he went," she told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.

Ashleigh and Sully triumphed at Crufts 2019, winning the small breed agility competition.

"I have so many thank yous but for now my biggest thank you goes to Sullivan for just being incredible," said Ashleigh.

Series 7 (2013): Attraction

BGT winners Attraction Getty

Hungarian shadow theatre act Attraction courted controversy when they became the first foreign act to win Britain’s Got Talent. However, at the time, Cowell said: "We will always welcome talent, wherever it is in the world."

Since the show, they have performed in Las Vegas, as well as fronting a TV ad campaign for insurance.

Attraction hopped across the pond to compete alongside Paul Potts in America's Got Talent: The Champions in 2019, but were not crowned the winners with the title going to magician Shin Lim.

Series 8 (2014): Collabro

Boyband Collabro won Britain's Got Talent in 2014 Getty

The band - Michael Auger, Richard Hadfield, Jamie Lambert, Matthew Pagan and Thomas J Redgrave – released their debut album in 2014 after winning the show, and it reached No.1 in the UK chart.

They followed it up with a big-money deal for a second record - Act Two - which gave another strong performance, reaching No.2 in the UK.

In 2016, Richard Hadfield dramatically quit the group, but the remaining four members have continued and released their latest album Home in 2017, featuring a mix of stage and pop classics.

The group took part in the 2020 series of America's Got Talent: The Champions.

Series 9 (2015): Jules and Matisse

Jules and Matisse caused controversy with their BGT win in 2015 Getty

The second dog act to win BGT had their win undermined by post-show controversy as viewers complained they had been 'duped' by their performance in the final.

The inclusion of another dog, who looked similar to Matissa, during a tightrope trick wasn't made clear to viewers and Ofcom got over 200 complaints.

Ofcom ruled that BGT had misled viewers, but the dog double act wasn't stripped of its title or prize money. Jules still appeared at the Royal Variety Performance and they were invited back for the live shows in 2016.

Series 10 (2016): Richard Jones

Magician Richard Jones won Britain's Got Talent in 2016 Getty

The show's first ever magician winner, Richard Jones is already one of BGT's most successful contestants. The former army officer, who still plays in the Band of the Household Cavalry, launched his own TV show Operation Magic in 2017 before heading out on his first solo tour, Power of Imagination.

Speaking about how the ITV show changed his life, he told What's On TV: "When I was a kid I always had three ambitions in life: I wanted to be a musician, a soldier and a magician and I’m pleased to say I’m doing all three of those things, so I’m living the dream on three fronts really because I’m still in the army, I haven’t left, a lot of people assume I’ve left, but I’m staying because I love my job in the army.

"But they give me a lot of free time, a lot of flexibility to go away and do shows, so I’m doing a lot on TV at the minute, I’m doing my tour, so I’m doing magic all over the country and all over the world and I’m kinda representing the army at the same time."

Jones has toured the UK with his magic show Power of Imagination, and has also been a summer fixture at Butlins resorts.

Series 11 (2017): Tokio Myers

Musical act Tokio Myers won Britain's Got Talent in 2017 Getty

Tokio Myers, real name Torville Jones, offered one of the more unique acts to have won BGT with his multi-instrumental takes on a fusion of dance, hip hop and classical music.

Audiences loved his classical rendition of Rag 'n' Bone Man’s hit Human in the contest's final, showing off skills honed at the Royal College of Music.

His first album, Our Generation, featured a mix of his own compositions alongside covers of 90s dance, hip hop and classical pieces.

Myers also co-produced and performed on Bridge Over Troubled Water, the single recorded by a host of stars in aid of the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

He earned three Classical Brit Awards nominations including the Album of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year, telling The Telegraph: "It's just amazing to be appreciated for all the hard work that has gone in throughout the years but especially the last year, we've all been working hard to make the album, promote the album, tour the album. It's beyond a year… I've been doing this my whole life, before BGT, this is an ongoing battle."

Myers was yet another Britain's Got Talent contestant in 2019's America's Got Talent: The Champions.

Series 12 (2018): Lost Voice Guy

Lost Voice Guy Lee Ridley on Britain's Got Talent Getty

Lost Voice Guy, aka Lee Ridley, was the first comedian to win Britain's Got Talent, a notoriously difficult act to do well in with the judges often panning contestants' jokes and routines.

Even more impressively, he's the first stand-up comedian in the UK to use a communication aid in his act as Ridley, who has cerebral palsy, speaks through a voice synthesizer after losing his own voice.

Ridley was championed by comedian judge David Walliams and since his Royal Variety Performance has also joined the ranks of former winners competing in America's Got Talent: The Champions.

He's taken on a 10-week tour since winning, has starred in a BBC Radio 4 sitcom called Ability, and says that the show has changed people's attitudes to him.

Talking to The Guardian, he said: “One of the best things to happen since I won is that people are engaging with me a lot more than they would have in the past. For the first time, they seem comfortable talking to a disabled person.

"Obviously I can’t speak for every disabled person. In fact it would be quite ironic if I was the voice of the disabled.

"But from the feedback I've had from other disabled performers and people, I do think my success has given them the confidence to follow their dreams a bit."

Series 13 (2019): Colin Thackery

Chelsea pensioner Colin Thackery was the 2019 BGT winner Getty

Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery won the hearts of the nation from his very first audition in the 2019 series.

At 89 years old, his ability to sing note-perfect renditions of popular favourites and wartime classics was even more impressive, and he brought tears to the eyes of many a judge and viewer when he dedicated his performance to his late wife.

Colin is the oldest ever winner of the show and he performed at the 2019 Royal Variety Performance. 

At the end of last year, he released his first single Love Changes Everything, which reached number 13 in the charts.

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