David Walliams joins Britain's Got Talent

As a judge alongside returning Simon Cowell

ITV has confirmed that David Walliams will be joining the judging panel for the next series of Britain’s Got Talent.

Show mastermind Simon Cowell will also be returning, having taken time off to launch X Factor USA, alongside Amanda Holden and new judge Alesha Dixon, who has been poached from Strictly Come Dancing

Cowell said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted David is joining the panel. He thinks he can do a better job than the people there before so it's going to be fun. I think he's terrified.’

And the Little Britain star joked: ‘I am so thrilled to be the new Cheryl Cole.’

Walliams reportedly signed a £250,000 deal to join the show for two years, after Michael McIntyre stepped down after one series.

The cash prize for this year’s competition has been upped from £100,000 to £500,000, as well as the slot on the Royal Variety Performance. Cowell also said he was keen to stress that the show was keen to look beyond singers, following the success of Susan Boyle.

He said: ‘I want to change the perception of the show. I think there's a notion with the show that all we want is older people who can sing opera. I don't mind that, but at the same time, the whole notion of this show is to say it's open for people that can't just sing. It could be a new young comedian; it could be something we've seen on YouTube. I don't know what it is...

‘I love originality, I love great singers, I love great comedians. I love things I've never seen before. Everyone thinks I hate magicians, well I hate bad magicians, but I'd love to find a great magician.’ 

Britain’s Got Talent will also be holding its first ever open audition this year – on Sunday January 22, at London’s Oval.

Elaine Bedell, ITV director of entertainment and comedy said: ‘I’m delighted David and Alesha will be joining Simon and Amanda on the panel.  David is one of the country’s top entertainers and a big fan of variety.’

Published: 3 Jan 2012

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