Britain’s Got Talent hosts Ant and Dec give us the behind-the-scenes story of the TV show that’s taking the world by storm…

How do you help performers with their nerves? Have you had people just too scared to perform?
Dec: “We always chat with the acts before they go on stage to help calm them down, although everyone deals with nerves differently so we’re not always successful.”
Ant: “I think sometimes we’ve ended up making things worse! No one has ever run off or been too scared but there has been the odd case of Dutch courage being used.”

So some auditionees are more prepared than others..?
Ant: It’s interesting to see how each act approaches their audition. Some turn up with everything organised with military precision like props, costumes, their music on CD, tape and MP3 in case anything should go wrong. Then you get some people turn up with half an act and a CD that bears no resemblance to their track listing!”

Can you usually tell how good an act is going to be before they perform?
Dec: “No, that’s the beauty of the show, none of us have any idea what’s coming next, which is part of the reason we were all so surprised when Susan Boyle started singing.”

And Susan auditioned in Glasgow where, traditionally, audiences aren’t slow to let performers know if they’re not up to scratch…
Ant: “The Glasgow audience are the most vocal of the lot and give the auditionees the least amount of time to impress. The sound of 4,000 Glaswegians singing ‘Cheerio, cheerio!’ is not one you want to be on the end of!”

Susan is the big Britain’s Got Talent story so far this year – millions all over the world have seen her audition performance via the internet. It’s difficult to see anyone else winning, isn’t it?
Dec: “We were slightly surprised when Susan was installed as the odds-on favourite after only one show because we know there are still some amazing talent to come. I don’t think it’s going to be the one-horse race everyone thinks it’s going to be.”

How do you cope with performers who the audience and the judges have absolutely hated?
Ant: “There is no standard line you can use with any auditionee, every act is different. Some laugh it off, some cry hysterically and some want to go down into the auditorium to fight the judges and the audience. We try to encourage the last option!”

What do Piers, Amanda and Simon, and the two of you get up to between auditions?
Dec: “We don’t hang out with the judges on audition days, they have a big posh room upstairs in the theatre and we usually have a pokey dressing room backstage with a few sandwiches and bags of smokey bacon crisps – oooh the glamour!”

Amanda told us that Piers and Simon bicker throughout the day. Do you manage to resist the temptation to wind them up even more?
Ant: “Simon and Piers are very competitive with each other, there’s a real one-upmanship between them. Thankfully, we can keep well away because we’re backstage but, of course, we like to wind it up at every opportunity!”

As well as being a judge, Amanda’s obviously a huge fan of the show. She’s ‘Mama Talent’, the beating heart of Britain’s Got Talent, isn’t she?
Dec: “Amanda is the one judge who shows her emotions, she softens the effect of Simon and Piers who don’t always think before they speak or spare the feelings of any of the contestants. She adds heart and compassion to the judging panel.”