'It's amazing to have Amanda back'
Stephen Mulhern, presenter of Britain's Got More Talent, reveals how Amanda Holden is doing and what he thinks of baby Hollie!
This year has been a dramatic one for Britain's Got Talent- and it's not even on TV yet! In January, Simon Cowell, 52, announced his return to the judging panel with talk of sending the winner to perform in space. He then signed up funny man David Walliams, 40, and poached Strictly Come Dancing judge Alesha Dixon, 33, from the BBC because the show was "getting a bit smug".
No sooner had auditions got under way than heavily pregnant Amanda Holden was rushed to hospital where she almost died giving birt. Thankfully, both mum and baby Hollie, now eight weeks old, pulled through and a glowing Amanda, 41, was back at work in less than three weeks.
With all this drama in mind, we couldn't resist a catch-up with Stephen Mulhern. As the presenter of BGT's spin-off show, Britain's got More Talent, he is the ultimate insider with exclusive access to all the judges and the best acts.
Here Stephen, 34, reveals how Amanda is coping, how he feels about the Saturday night ratings war between BGT and BBC1 talent show The voice, and which judge has had the most surgery...
BGT is in its sixth year now. Is it getting a revamp?Simon wants to give the show a bit of a makeover. You're going to see more stuff like acts talking to each other backstage. And the cameras are so far away they forget they're on them.
What about the talent?I think they're going to be the strongest we've had! I don't understand why the really good talent haven't auditioned before. Where have they been hiding?!
Is a singer going to win?I think it will be a singing act, but I don't think it will be a solo singer.
Simon had a break from the show last year. Is he still Mr Nasty?He's still as direct as he's always been. He said to a guy playing an organ, "You're like sausage and ice cream - they just don't go together."
Who's Simon's favourite - Amanda or Alesha?He's so busy having a bath, he doesn't really fuss over anyone. But he asks Alesha every day, "Darling, who dresses you? Who's your stylist? Where's that from?" And he gives her a critique!
Does Amanda get straight on the phone to her stylist?I don't think there's any of that. Amanda's very happy in herself.
So there's no girl rivalry?They actually make a very good team! I asked Alesha who her favourite judge was and she said it was Amanda.
Aww. What about the rest of the panel - any fall outs?There's certainly no atmosphere. But if there's any sort of debate, it's between David and Simon. David is very strong-minded. When he likes an act, he really puts himself out there.
Have any of the acts made David cry?No, but one really got to him - two guys who were married. He got very emotional. It was an incredible moment.
Is it true that some of his comments were a bit risque and he was warned about keeping it family friendly?Yes! And I can tell you that David is on stage more than Ant and Dec! He can't help but get involved.
How is Amanda doing?She's on good form. It's amazing to have her back.
She got quite a bit of stick for going back to work so soon after giving birth...You know what? She got the all-clear and it's her choice. I don't really understand anyone that's got a view on somebody else's job. Just let people do what they think they should do.
She looks better than ever, doesn't she?Incredibly so.
Have you met baby Hollie?Yes, I have, and she is beautiful.
Does she take after her mum?Yeah. She's just lovely. Like any baby - she's just beautiful.
Speaking of celebrity mums, is it true that you and Holly Willoughby are good mates?It is. We did two and a half years together on Saturday mornings and now I'm on This Morning. It's lovely to work with her again.
She's hosting BBC1's The voice which is going head to head with BGT on Saturday nights. So will you still be friends in a few months?!(Laughs) You're the first person to ask that and the reality is that this is a massive gig for Holly. I think it's a shame they're going head to head, but that's how it is.
Have you had a bit of friendly banter about it - "my show's better than your show" sort of stuff?Not yet, but when it gets a bit closer, i'll definately start!
Will you feel bad for Holly if BGT wins the ratings war?No! I'm intrigued to see what The Voice is like.
It's very different to BGT. Is Simon desperate to beat the BBC?He hasn't mentioned it. I don't know who decides what goes head to head, but i know which one I'll be watching!
Are you in a relationship at the moment?I'm not. I'm all on my own!
Do you mind being single?Because things are so busy, it's not that bad. But when you're not busy, it's nice to be with someone.
Is BGMT a good way to meet people?What, like The Hoff?! No, that's one thing I would never do. No way... The auditionees?!
Don't they try to chat you up?Only once. We made a story of it. We got some strawberries and champagne and made a big deal. I can't remember her name, but she was a super-fan.
Did she try to slip you her phone number?This year, someone did write a letter saying they loved when I used to be on CITV and now I'm on This Morning, they record it. There was a number on the bottom. It was never dialled.
Do Ant and Dec get a lot of attention?I'm sure they get ten times more than I do!
Out of the hosts and the judges, who's had the most surgery?Oh God! Well, I can tell you I asked Simon if I were to have surgery what should I have done. And he gave me a big list. He's got a lot of knowledge!
What did he suggest?That I should have hair implants, get my teeth done and slightly get my nose done. He said, "Get all that sorted, then come back to me."
So you left that day feeling really good about yourself?Oh, yeah, on a real high!