In light of EastEnders' latest storyline, writer James Tyson considers how important the long-running British soap has been for social change in the UK.Written by James Tyson on 27th November 2015
Britain’s Got The Same Talent
Every year I think that it is going to be different and every year I am disappointed
Every year I think that it is going to be different and every year I am disappointed. Of course I’m talking about the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals that just happen to, once again – for about the hundredth year in a row – be centred on singers, with a side order of dancers. Of course, this wouldn’t be too bad if there were no other shows for them to attempt to win.
I look at these singers, and of course, there are some exceptions to be made. It would be harsh to stop a young child – of 14 and under – to not audition if they were actually fantastic singers. I put this age bracket on it because what should be the second cousin show, but is in fact the sister show The X Factor allows people to compete from 16. Therefore, if you’re 15, you can just wait an extra year for me to hear your ‘stunning’ voice that you just can’t wait to share. Then there are the people that sing opera, like series 1 winner Paul Potts and Jonathan and Charlotte this year. The X Factor just isn’t for them, and there isn’t another talent show avenue for their gift. Fair enough. The last reservation I’m prepared to make is for those who write their own songs (that are actually good). As for the rest of these people they are just looking for a quick way to get their name heard without having to do the weeks of competition. One audition and they can pretty much bank on being put through to the semis. If they are well liked enough, the final beckons. Three steps as opposed to around 15 put in place on the show specifically designed for singers such as themselves.
One down, and now the dancers. In the earlier series’ it was perfectly acceptable and understandable for them to enter this competition. There was no demand for a talent show for dance troupes or acts. However, series two and three winners George Sampson and Diversity, respectively, changed that. Now Sky1 has their own dance show that runs annually, Got To Dance, on which, Ashley Banjo (choreographer of Diversity) is a judge. Why then does Britain’s Got Talent have to suffer through mostly average dance acts that are the same as the ones the previous year?
This year there are six singing acts and three dance acts (although the synchronised swimmers could be placed in that category). This show bangs on all the time about variety and yet it does not practise what it preaches. Throughout the week there have been some brilliant variety acts such as the circus wheel acrobat, the magicians, the stand-up comic, the xylophonist and the basketball stunt team and yet we have been left with the same acts as there are every year. Some of the acts that have been placed in the semis have been dire when talented people, like the impressionist have been forced to leave without even a shot at the final.
Last year I made my own personal stance and boycotted the final for its lack of variety and may think about making it a tradition unless unique talent is to be recognised and celebrated in the final.