Britain’s Got Talent ‘will be back next year’ says ITV CEO

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ITV presenter Jonathan Ross returned to screens in April with the 17th series of his popular chat show. The latest lineup includes dancer and presenter Ashley Banjo, who discussed his reaction to a call from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as well as Diversity’s Black Lives Matter performance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2020.

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, reactions from celebrities and politicians have been considerable.

However, Diversity founder Ashley Banjo received a call from the famous couple to discuss the negativity surrounding Diversity’s powerful performance on Britain’s Got Talent, long before their interview.

He said: “Sitting in my front garden, phone rang, it’s Megan and Harry… I was like, ‘Hey, how you doing.. you alright?’… We had a really lovely chat.”

Adding that their discussion opened his eyes to their situation, he continued: “Made me sort of realise, way before their [Oprah] interview, they spoke me through some stuff and really opened my eyes to some of the stuff they’d been through.”

“I was like, wow, this is real and if anyone understood it, they did, about where I was at, in the midst of a storm,” he continued.

“It was basically front-page news for about three weeks. I still can’t really understand why.

“It was huge and people were talking about it. They said, listen we understand what it’s like to receive that sort of negativity,” he added.

On The Jonathan Ross Show, Ashley discussed the dance group’s Black Lives Matter performance, describing his shock at the negative reaction: “I mean, yeah.. very surprised, we thought it would ruffle a few feathers, but not be one of the most complained-about moments of the decade.

“The reaction, even still to this day, the online reaction I get on a daily basis is shocking, actually. But I’d do it 100 times over,” he added.

Diversity’s 2020-inspired performance was recently nominated for a BAFTA TV award.

“I’m just massively proud of it. It was controversial, made a lot of people unhappy, but it also made a lot of people stand up and be proud.

“It made a lot of conversations happen that needed to happen,” Ashley continued.

Commenting on their BAFTA nomination, Ashley added: “Fingers crossed. To win it would be incredible. Just to be nominated itself for me is just incredible.

“That performance, it was life-changing, it was incredible.”

Ashley continued, saying: “To potentially win a Bafta for something that was controversial when it shouldn’t have been, it will be something that stays with me for the rest of my life.”

The British media regulator, Ofcom, received more than 20,000 complaints after the performance aired in September 2020, citing ITV as an unbefitting platform for a political statement.

The Diversity leader also expressed gratitude towards ITV for backing their BGT performance and for televising the routine, which referenced George Floyd’s murder, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Saying: “ITV are incredible. After the performance, they backed it. They put out full-page ads in the press.”

Ashley Banjo will appear on The Jonathan Ross Show, Saturday 1st May, 9.35pm on ITV and ITV Hub.

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