1 9 9 6 – 1 9 9 7 (UK)
18 x 50 minute episodes
Billed as the New Faces for the Nineties, this talent show from LWT debuted on 27 July 1996 having spent five months scouring the UK and auditioning more than 3,000 acts.
Jonathan Ross relaunched his TV career (after spending two years at home looking after baby) to introduce five acts each week from the worlds of comedy, music and entertainment.
For eight weeks, singers, bands, comedians, impressionists, ventriloquists and magicians competed for a chance of stardom. Viewers registered their verdict by phone or post with the winning act earning the right to go through to the grand final at the end of the series.
Garry Bushell from tabloid rag The Sun was on hand to slag off all the acts before the voting started.
The winner was ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and his cheeky dummy called Sam, romping home with an astonishing 200,000 votes. Zerdin later won the 2015 series of America’s Got Talent.
The Big Big Talent Show returned in June 1997 for another nine episodes. The winner of this series was singer Lydia Griffiths, who went on to a successful career in the West End.
Comedian Omid Djalili was one of the contestants on the very first show. Ed Byrne competed in the second series.