06/02/2017 12:35 GMT

'Britain's Got Talent' In 'Fake' Row As Prankster Claims Auditions Are 'Contrived And Manipulative'

'This show sets itself up as an innocent talent show... I don’t think it’s that.'

’Britain’s Got Talent’ is at the centre of a fakery row, after comedian Simon Brodkin made a series of claims about his experience while undercover at auditions. 

The TV pranskter has branded ‘BGT’ “contrived and manipulative”, after he posed in disguise as an Orthodox Jewish rapper trying out for the judges. 

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The 'Britain's Got Talent' judges and presenters

Simon, the man behind comedy character Lee Nelson, filmed his insight while auditioning in January 2016 for a new Channel 4 documentary.

Speaking to The Mirror, he has claimed ‘BGT’ producers told him to say and do certain things, and made him change parts of his act.

“Shortly before I went in front of the judges I was advised what to say and how to present my act,” he said. 

“A lot is recreated and manipulated. My arrival, registration and leaving were all staged. I was given direction as to how to act, and they reshot each stage several times.

“Once backstage they asked me to look nervous, happy, frustrated, excited etc, filming as many emotions as possible so they have the building blocks to build their own narrative.”

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Comedian Simon Brodkin

Simon also told of how he attended a set of auditions with producers way before he was put in front of judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams, where they suggested changes to his performance. 

“No suggestions were made on the day but four days ­afterwards I received a call from an ­associate producer who told me they liked my act but the rap I auditioned with was not right for the show,” he explained.

“They asked me for a new song, guiding me on what would work better for ‘BGT’.”

He added he was “coached” on several answers and told to “rephrase them according to their suggestions” when filming footage to air on the show. 

He later received four yeses from the judges when he performed for them, but was thrown off the show when his real identity was uncovered. 

A ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ spokesperson has refuted Simon’s claims, insisting they had asked him to change his act due to its inappropriate content. 

“It is not unusual for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ to work with acts to ensure their performances are suitable for family viewing,” they told MailOnline.  

“On this occasion Simon Brodkin auditioned with a rap containing material we were concerned may cause offence. 

“We subsequently found out that Simon Brodkin is a ‘comedian’ and hoaxer who promotes his act by deceiving people. It is untrue to suggest that ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ manipulated Simon’s act.”

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ returns to ITV in the spring. 

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