TV sends in the clowns for Saturday nights

The Judges for BGT 2011
The Judges for BGT 2011
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Brendan Gleeson in Calvary on BBC iPlayer

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The circus has come to town on Saturday night TV.

If the return of Britain’s Got Talent alone wasn’t enough proof of that, then a quick scan through the other channels was.

First up, on BBC One, was the mother of all bizarre talent contests – Eurovision.

Eurovision: Your Country Needs Blue, followed the boyband who have taken the mantle to restore the nation’s pride after poor Josh Dubovie came last with the ironically titled That Sounds Good to Me.

This one-off special saw Lee Ryan, Antony Costa, Duncan James and Simon Webbe preparing for their appearance in Dusseldorf as they met choreographers, designers and stylists and publicists.

Next, on ITV1 – directly before BGT, was Sing If You Can – the latest celebrity charity talent contest. It sees stars attempt to perform musical numbers while hosts Keith Lemon, Stacey Solomon and their crew attempt drastic stunts to put them off.

It seems an unfair advantage that some of the celebs are singers, while others are not, but it’s not a serious contest – that much was clear from the off, as Strictly’s Brendan Cole and Pineapple Dance Studio’s Andrew Stone were dowsed in kids TV-type gunge while trying to perform Born To Be Wild.

Earlier in the show Jodie Prenger sang while covered in snakes and Brigitte Nelson tried to perform despite being blindfolded and tied to a spinning wheel as Stacey and Keith threw knives at her, clearly embracing the circus theme.

After Britain’s Got Talent, it was the media circus that was the subject, as Piers Morgan interviewed one of its biggest clowns.

Russell Brand was the latest famous face to be grilled on Piers’s Life Stories chat show. And boy does Russell have some stories to tell.

But back to the main event on Saturday night.

New faces David Hasselhoff and Michael McIntyre settled in well next to Amanda Holden to judge Britain’s talent.

The Hoff’s energy, outfits and hair were entertaining in themselves. While Michael suffered a buzzer phobia and, when he finally learned to be more brutal, sensitive Portsmouth businessman John Hampson (who was painted gold and singing Spandau Ballet) walked off mid performance.

Acts included a man who could pop his eyes, handbell players and a lad who sang Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car beautifully, but the highlight for me was Steven Hall. I nearly spat out my tea as he got into the swing of his dance medley and members of the live audience were left in tears of laughter.

He’s the one to beat after week one. Let’s hope tonight’s show offers something to give him a run for his money.