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Britain’s Got Talent live shows could go ahead without audience, ITV says

The audition episodes were filmed before the current coronavirus crisis.

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David Walliams (left), Simon Cowell (centre-left), Amanda Holden (centre-right) and Alesha Dixon (right) (Ian West/PA)

David Walliams (left), Simon Cowell (centre-left), Amanda Holden (centre-right) and Alesha Dixon (right) (Ian West/PA)

David Walliams (left), Simon Cowell (centre-left), Amanda Holden (centre-right) and Alesha Dixon (right) (Ian West/PA)

The live shows of Britain’s Got Talent could go ahead without a live audience, according to ITV’s head of entertainment.

The audition episodes of the talent series were filmed before the coronavirus crisis and the live shows were pushed back to later in the year in the hopes the series could resume as usual.

However, the series might have to continue the contestants performing to just the judges.

Katie Rawcliffe, head of entertainment at ITV, said it is possible other entertainment programmes, including The Voice and The Masked Singer, might also go ahead without audiences.

The channel has already aired an episode of Saturday Night Takeaway without a studio audience, before social distancing guidelines meant Ant & Dec filmed the following episodes from home.

Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, which is being held online this year, Rawcliffe said: “I think it worked really well.

“I’m not sure you would want to do it forever but we might have to in the autumn as well.

“We are learning a bit more and getting across it a bit more.

“We have got the luxury of watching it happen in other territories.”

She added: “It looks like we will have to do some shows without audiences.

“It will be about re-adapting and reworking and making it work.

“This whole experience has brought out more creativity in people and the best in people, we all have to think a bit harder about how we do things.”

She said the audition episodes of Britain’s Got Talent almost did not go on air “due to other Covid-related things”, adding: “The live shows we are hoping to do later this year, we are still in stages of planning and are talking to the teams at Thames and Syco about what might be possible.

“We are very much in pre-production, as are the rest of the shows for the rest of the year.”

Discussing how much the live audience is part of the live shows of Britain’s Got Talent, she said: “It is, but it is on all those shows.

“We have got The Masked Singer coming down the tracks, same with The Voice, but they are trying it in other territories and it is getting better and better, might be something we have to do.

“We have got incredible talent on those shows and you rely on the talent a bit harder, and the edits a bit more.”

PA