Britain’s Got Talent has announced that former Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli will replace David Walliams on the panel this year.
This is big news in the world of variety shows, not only because Tonioli has spent many years at rival broadcaster BBC, but also because the BGT panel of judges hasn’t changed in a decade.
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Comedian and children’s book author Walliams is leaving in 2020 after his derogatory comments about the contestants emerged from an audio recording, while Tonioli is free to join ITV as he left Strictly after Covid restrictions interrupted his longstanding role.
Sharing a photo of the 67-year-old Italian dancer and choreographer, Tonioli’s new seat on the panel on Tuesday, BGT said, “Here we are, Britain’s Got Talent. I’m so excited. This is my first show. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’m sure it will be great.”
Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams were a familiar cast for the 10 years before Tonioli’s arrival. IGT the front panel?
All Britain’s Got Talent jury rosters
Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan – 2007 – 2010
Cowell and Holden have been around since the early days of Britain’s Got Talent, but they’ve been joined by controversial broadcaster Piers Morgan in the first four series.
Nasty for a jury, it worked oddly well as it went on—until Morgan left to start her US TV career.
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In those days, there were only three seats on the panel, but Kelly Brook was brought in as an extra juror for the third series.
However, less than a week after it began, the show’s bosses decided that a fourth juror had overcomplicated things, and as such, he was accepted as a guest juror instead.
Cowell’s former X Factor friend, Louis Walsh, also debuted as a guest judge in the fourth series when Cowell fell ill and was unable to audition.
Amanda Holden, David Hasselhoff, Michael McIntyre – 2011
The show’s first major lineup change came in the fifth series, Morgan went to break America, and Cowell launched The X Factor USA soon after.
Holden was the only original panel member to hold the rook throughout the entire series, but Cowell managed to return as the fourth judge in time for the live shows.
Read more: Simon Cowell denies plans to retire from TV jury
Meanwhile, Holden was joined by Baywatch star David Hasselhoff and comedian Michael McIntyre, but the combo was short-lived as neither new signing wanted to come back for series six.
Walsh was again a guest judge on an audition tour that included Hasselhoff performing in a pantomime.
Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams – 2012 – 2022
Thus began Britain’s longest-running line-up from the sixth series of Got Talent to 2022.
Cowell returned full-time to oversee the panel, Holden remained in his usual seat, and the show recruited Dixon and Walliams to join them.
Dixon was a judge on BBC rival Strictly Come Dancing but was pulled over to ITV by Cowell.
However, Walliams’ reputation as a friend of the contestants seemed to crumble when, in November 2022, The Guardian revealed a leaked audio recording from the 2020 auditions in which he was heard making very derogatory remarks about the contestants.
“I would like to apologize to the people I made disrespectful comments about during the filming of Britain’s Got Talent in 2020,” Walliams said.
“These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – they were never meant to be shared. I’m sorry though.”
The damage was done, however, and after rumors that Alan Carr would replace him, Tonioli was the final judge confirmed.
Several guest jurors have been added over the years – in series six, Carmen Electra retained Holden for some auditions while she survived the birth of her daughter.
Cowell also had several stand-ins, including hosts Ant and Dec, who covered a day’s audition for him in series eight, and Walliams’ mother Kathleen and ex-BGT who were among the audience who filled up when he was late for work in series 10. winning Diversity star Ashley Banjo replaced her in the 14th series after the electric bike accident.
Watch: Ant McPartlin needs medical attention on set of Britain’s Got Talent