Britain’s Got Talent is back on our screens on Saturday nights on ITV1. Returning to our TVs are the king of entertainment, Simon Cowell, the joker of the pack, David Walliams, alongside the one who’s seen it all, Amanda Holden, and the queen of cool, Alesha Dixon.

The popular judging panel have been stunned, entertained and moved to tears on their hunt for the best talent around. Once again they are again joined by the nation’s favourite TV duo, Ant and Dec, as they search the length of the country for the most talented acts around.

Here’s what some past contestants and winners of the popular show, including judge Alesha Dixon and presenter Stephen Mulhern, have had to say…

Alesha, are you pleased to be back?

Of course, I am so excited to be back! It’s a dream job, we come to work, spend most of the day laughing and get to be entertained by weird, wonderful, bad or crazy acts – I can’t complain! It’s been a blast and I think we are in for another fantastic show. It’s not going to disappoint.

Do you feel pressure to find better talent each year?

Each year when the show goes out the standard gets higher and higher. The last few series we have done, the final has been incredible. There have been so many acts within the one final that could have easily gone on to win the show. So, naturally whenever we start the next round of auditions we’re sitting there praying that something incredible comes through. We don’t want to settle and think that was okay or average, we want someone that’s going to come along and be better than anything we’ve seen in the past.

Stephen, are you happy to be back with Britain’s Got Talent?

It’s great because when we all get back together it feels like a family. Everyone knows each other so you know when the right time is to chat, when not to chat, and stuff like that. Overall it just works. The judges and Ant and Dec are so supportive of us on ITV2, that’s why we get so much more than other spin-off shows do.

Simon is known for shaking up his shows – how would you feel if he asked someone else to host Britain’s Got More Talent?

If that was decided then what will be, will be. The reality is that when you look at the Xtra Factor, I think there have been about nine different presenters. If he was going to do it, he would have done it before now. I think sometimes things change because they need to change, but I would hope that he never thinks we need to change. We are never the same, every year we always want to be bigger and come up with new ideas. We never do the same thing twice.

Do you ever look at Ant and Dec and think you would love their job on the main show?

If they ever quit, trust me, I’ll be like a rat up a drainpipe!

Ashleigh and her dog Pudsey won BGT and she came third in BGT: The Champions with her new dog Sully. Here’s what she had to say about being on the show…

Ashleigh, what was it like being on Britain’s Got Talent?

It was more than you could ever imagine. We had the best time both times around and obviously they were different as I won with Pudsey and did the Champions show with Sully. My Mum and Gran actually applied to put me on the show. I was at school at the time in sixth form, I didn’t know what I was going to do next, then this came up. We were the first dog-trick act to win, I was so proud of that. Simon was our biggest cheerleader as he loves dogs and said we got better and better every time we performed.

Tell us about why you got you into training dogs?

Well I started to train Pudsey pretty much straight away, he was just so clever. I love animals and especially dogs and I knew he had something special and I could teach him things. We went on to compete in agility, which he became a champion at, and canine freestyle, where he also reached the top.

What happened after you won the show?

It was crazy! We performed in front of the Queen as part of the Diamond Jubilee, we fronted welfare campaigns and we also did a Pudsey movie! Personally, though, when we went to the USA and appeared on the Jay Leno Show was when I thought this is a pinch-me moment. I had to make sure it was really happening.

Sadly Pudsey passed away, but you got your second dog Sully. What was that like to start performing again with Sully?

I had Pudsey for 11 years. Both dogs were really friendly and happy. My new dog Sully would bark at first and be crazy when I first tried to get him to perform, until my original partner Pudsey passed away then he stepped up. Sully did grow up, though, with Pudsey. I had them both together for four years, they were like brothers and very close.

Before I lost Pudsey, though, Sully was very immature and there was a point where I didn’t think Sully would go on stage because he was very wary about his surroundings. At his first pantomime, I had Pudsey with me, they were both there, and Sully was crazy – he would just stand there barking!

Where did the name Sully come from?

I got it from Sulley the monster in the ‘Monsters, Inc.’ movie.

What made you reappear on Britain’s Got Talent with Sully?

Well I was asked if I wanted to be on BGT: The Champions and I immediately thought, yes, what another great opportunity. We did a routine to Mary Poppins’ ‘Spoonful of Sugar’. I really enjoyed it and Sully did a great job.

We didn’t win this time around, but we did come third, which I was still really proud of. However, I want to add we did win at Crufts last year in the agility final and I am so proud of Sully for that.

Bonnie Anderson, you won Australia’s Got Talent and then years later came on to our screens in 2019 for BGT: The Champions…

Yes, I was young when I won Australia’s Got Talent. When I got asked to come to Britain in 2019 to sing at Wembley for Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions it was a dream come true, especially as I got to meet judge and music mogul Simon Cowell.

How did you feel about being on BGT: The Champions?

I was nervous but also so excited. It definitely took me back, but I was young and it’s hard to even remember all of those feelings. I think being grown up and having a different outlook on it all, it was more of a celebration this time. I did it to celebrate my time with the BGT franchise and to be among people with such great talent from all around the world, it was amazing.

Do you still get nervous before performing?

Yes, the nerves are always there, but the judges were all so lovely. I got to meet Simon which was very exciting. I’ve been watching the show from the other side of the world and then to be there was just incredible. It’s been a bit surreal, but a dream come true. I had a little personal chat with Simon which was very nice and just being in his presence was an honour. I really hope that I get to work with him again in the future.

What did you do after winning the show?

So, if you’re into your soaps you’ll know I joined the cast of Neighbours last year. I will always be thankful to the show for the opportunities it gave me. As a child the show cemented what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I always knew I wanted to be a singer and after the show I took some time out because I wanted to have some normality. I then signed my contract with Sony and now as I said I’m working on Neighbours and doing great things.

Was it a great experience being on the show?

It was such a great platform and gave me so many opportunities. It was weird when I won, though, as I thought it would be a lot different to what it was. I had those that were super supportive and over the moon for me, but some people that I didn’t know were a bit funny with me and as a young girl it was a bit scary but it definitely makes you stronger. When you put yourself out there you do get people who throw their opinion at you like they have the right to say what they feel but that’s the beauty of what we do. You just have to embrace all of it.

What are your plans for your future?

I’m so happy on Neighbours. I love the people I work with and I love my job. Singing is obviously a big part of my life and sometimes it’s tough to juggle the two but I’m really excited to see what the future holds. My character Bea sings on the show which is great as it allows me to combine the two. I’m happy to hang around and keep being my character for as long as they’ll have me.

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