Britain’s Got Talent made its first ever visit to Northumberland this week – and the talent on show certainly did not disappoint.
The ITV talent show, which is open to any age, background or ability, visited Bedlington-based Leading Link as part of the audition process for the national competition on Monday.
The charity, which aims to maximise the potential of young people through a diverse range of activities, has been organising its own Northumberland’s Got Talent since 2008.
Local auditions for Britain’s Got Talent have been running in tandem with the open audition tour which is visiting larger cities across the UK, to give people in harder to reach areas the opportunity to showcase their abilities.
And there was an array of talent on show for the visiting producers on their visit, including a Northumbrian acoustic R’n’B band, a male dance troupe and an animal illusionist.
Despite the nerves of applying for such an established competition, dancer Jordan Alexander, 18, from Bedlington felt he benefited from auditioning practically on his doorstep.
He said: “I have auditioned before and not been successful, but I felt a lot more relaxed being in a familiar surrounding like my hometown.
“There are definitely some hidden talents here that people do not know about, and this is an amazing chance to get out there and show what we can do in this area.”
Tom Wyllie, 21, from Cramlington, is a classical singer who already has a wealth of experience in performing at small gigs and private functions, but was delighted to have the opportunity to showcase himself, and the area, to a national audience.
“Northumberland is a very popular place, but I feel like it is one of those far out places in the country that almost gets ignored sometimes, so it is nice that it has been recognised,” he said.
All of the auditions were filmed, and the footage will now be reviewed by the show’s production team to decide if any of the acts will be invited to perform in front of Simon Cowell and the rest of the Britain’s Got Talent judges when filming for the television auditions start later this month.
Jonny Hall, assistant manager of Leading Link, was overwhelmed with the response to the auditions and thinks the future is bright for the talent of Northumberland.
“We have been running Northumberland’s Got Talent for over seven years now, and we are still amazed by some of the people that are unearthed through auditions like this,” he said.
“We are also incredibly grateful that the producers of Britain’s Got Talent chose to come and visit Leading Link – it really has put Northumberland in the national spotlight.
“All of the acts that got up and performed in front of the cameras were absolutely brilliant – and they certainly did Northumberland proud.
“Everyone at Leading Link will certainly be glued to their television screens when the show returns later in the year.”
So what do the acts who took part hope to get out of the competition?
Wim Stevenson, 28, from Alnwick, of unique acoustic band the Giant Industrial Poets jested: “I’m just in it for the fame and glory.”
n A slideshow of photos from the Britain’s Got Talent audition is online at www.newspostleader.co.uk/video