Britain’s Got Talent 2021 has been scrapped until the autumn as COVID-19 lockdown scuppered plans for nationwide auditions.
In a statement, ITV said they’re hopeful the show will return later this year, but have delayed plans to start auditions later this month due to government restrictions.
They said: ‘The filming for the 15th series of Britain’s Got Talent has been postponed from its proposed record dates in late January.
On hold: Britain’s Got Talent 2021 has been scrapped until the autumn as COVID-19 lockdown scuppered plans for nationwide auditions
‘With the announcement of the latest Government health guidelines and with our priority of safeguarding the well-being of everyone involved in our programmes we, together with the production teams at Thames and Syco, have taken the decision to move the record and broadcast of the forthcoming series.
‘We will confirm revised dates in due course.’
It had been reported that bosses decided to delay auditions as they would be unable to film auditions with a live audience during current restrictions.
Sources also claimed that a vast production, with acts travelling from across the world to take part, wasn’t viable even though other TV productions have continued.
Pushed back: In a statement, ITV said they’re hopeful the show will return later this year, but have delayed plans to start auditions later this month (2020 winner Jon Courtenay pictured)
The delay comes just days after a source told MailOnline that BGT bosses had already settled on a UK location to film the auditions, following claims they were considering filming at different locations across the globe.
The source said at the time: ‘The auditions are currently planned for a venue at the end of January/early February.
‘Obviously if that’s not feasible safety-wise, producers will look at other options and contingencies.’
The Sun previously claimed performances would then be sent back via video link to the celebrity judges in the UK so bosses could still ‘put on a show’.
Not yet! This series was also set to mark the return of Simon Cowell to the judging panel, as he was forced to miss last year’s live shows after breaking his back in a bike accident
England was placed in a third COVID-19 lockdown on Monday, with residents ordered to stay at home unless for essential reasons.
However most television and film production is allowed to continue as long as COVID-19 regulations, such as the use of masks and regular testing, are followed.
ITV bosses now face the challenge of replacing BGT in the TV schedule, with the show usually airing sometime in April after auditions are filmed in January and February.
This series was also set to mark the return of Simon Cowell to the judging panel, as he was forced to miss last year’s live shows after breaking his back in a bike accident.
Pushed back: Last year BGT was thrown into chaos by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the live shows delayed from May to September
Last year BGT was thrown into chaos by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the live shows delayed from May to September and aired in front of a virtual audience to ensure it was adhered to COVID-19 restrictions.
Some contestants were also unable to perform live in the semi-finals due to travel concerns, and Ashley Banjo was drafted in to replace Simon on the judging panel.
The auditions were able to air as planned in April as they were filmed before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The series concluded with singer Jon Courtenay crowned champion.
BGT also aired its first ever Christmas Special last month, with the judges all tested ahead of filming so they didn’t have to maintain social distancing.
It comes after it was reported last week that filming for the new series has been delayed for weeks because of COVID-19 rule changes.
A source told The Sun: ‘Covid’s causing havoc with BGT filming. The producers want to keep viewers entertained and put a smile on people’s faces but the safety of the cast, crew and contestants is the priority.
‘It is at the centre of every decision. A live audience and their reaction is a vital part of the show’s success, too, so producers want to keep that element and, if it all means delays, then so be it.’