Former East Sussex Britain’s Got Talent ventriloquist contestant speaks about his career as the show returns to ITV

After a month in lockdown, the nation is keen for ways to pass the time and lift our spirits – the perfect time for the return of the pre-recorded Britain’s Got Talent.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 3:49 pm
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The talent show can be an emotional rollercoaster and often has viewers and the show judges in fits of laughter or floods of tears with its diverse acts. The show has become a platform for any kind of performers who may not otherwise be noticed.

The show came back to our screens on Saturday nights a couple of weeks ago and former East Sussex contestant Steve Hewlett has reflected on his enormous success on the show and the way it has changed his life.

Steve is a ventriloquist, and in 2013 he wowed the judges with his talent and sidekick Arthur Lager.

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The 44-year-old dad’s life changed overnight when he found himself in the semi-finals of the competition.

Since then, life has changed dramatically for Steve.

He said: “As Britain’s Got talent starts up again, I look back with fond memories of my television break on BGT, it gave me great exposure on television’s biggest talent show for variety acts.

“Highlights since the show have to be touring America with the Osmonds.

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“I will never forget working with the Famous Osmond Brothers, an entertainment phenomena that took the world by storm.

“As we ended a five week season together in Branson, Missouri at the Moon River Theatre in November and December 2016, I remember thinking I’m actually jumping on a Tour Bus and touring America with the Osmond’s.

“I had been remembering old television footage of screaming fans and mayhem just trying to get on the coach leaving the theatre, but, in 2016, as we packed up the long season ready for the US Tour dates, and got on the tour bus everyone was snoring within half an hour.

“I appreciated this, of course, as the brothers weren’t teenagers anymore - they were in their 50’s and 60’s. It is still a time I will never forget.”

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Steve has enjoyed events others could only dream of and has been able to introduce his wife to Her Majesty The Queen.

He said: “I’ve encountered some brilliant events such as supporting Kenny G at the Royal Albert Hall or introducing my wife Nina to HM The Queen and HRH Prince Phillip in their own living room at an event at Buckingham Palace in 2014.

“This was celebrating 125 years of the Grand order of Water rats a charity group I’m proud to be a part of .”

Steve describes touring the UK with his own theatre show in 2014 and 2018 as ‘a dream come true’.

However, life for Steve, like the rest of us has taken a dramatic turn, due to the coronavirus crisis and with theatres shut, live performances in their usual form are on hold. He is using the time wisley and creating more material during lockdown

He said: “After writing a brand new show all about my main character Arthur Lager I launched a third tour called Arthur Lager ‘Gets Real’ in Hastings on March 11 and 12 of this year but that was the last time I worked a live audience.

“Being locked away just like my dummies have given me time to fine tune that tour show and make it right for when we return to the stage and I get to edit my upcoming book Ventriloquest which I’ve been working on for 12 years.

“This is my biggest project to date. And involves most ventriloquists from around the world.

“Since lockdown I have kept positive, been a homebound father, husband, chef, stand in teacher alongside my wife Nina as we home school our daughters.

“I’ve performed shows, interviews, made music and comedy videos as well as appeared on many friends online shows as their guest.

“The most popular thing I put out there was a rendition of Matt Lucas’s Baked Potato Song, which I and Arthur Lager covered. Matt loved it had more than 64,000 views in 48 hours.

“I have always worked hard to push myself but at the same time to make people smile, even for a few minutes. In a time like this not everyone wants to see my act, or laugh, but if they do I will continue to entertain to keep me sane until the curtains open and the lights go back on.”