I won Britain’s Got Talent

IT was the amazing act that combined military strength with magical wonder and won Britain’s Got Talent.

Richard Jones31, from Essex, blinded the ITV show judges and the public with his ready manlerzo and clever card tricks in 2016.

Richard Jones won Britain’s Got Talent in 2016 after showcasing magical talent

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Richard Jones won Britain’s Got Talent in 2016 after showcasing magical talentCredit: ITV – Britain’s Got Talent
The Lance Corporal was marked

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The Lance Corporal was branded a “wizard” by Simon CowellCredit: ITV – Britain’s Got Talent

He turned a hospitable drink into tea for David Walliamsread That of Amanda Holden mind and inexplicably gave Alex Dixon stationary shock.

Even Simon Cowell was impressed, branding him a “wizard” and saluting him before he won with 16.7 percent of the public vote.

Now Richard, who is ambassador for the charity Spread a Smilereveals what it was like to appear in the hit show.

Here he tells The Sun about the long lines to audition, minimum prep time and how, like a magic trick, his trophy mysteriously disappeared …

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Experienced for 7 hours to audition

Some BGT stars, including Pete Cann “The Laughing One”told us that they had been invited to the show by producers and had their actions checked before stepping on stage.

But that was not the case for Richard, who applied and had to go through two lengthy auditions in October 2015.

He recalls: “I lined up for what felt like weeks at the first round but in fact, it was six or seven hours.

Britain's Got Talent star Richard Jones practicing his famous paper-cut magic trick

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Britain’s Got Talent star Richard Jones practicing his famous paper-cut magic trickCredit: Paul Edwards – The Sun.

“I didn’t expect to get far but thought it would be a nice day out and allow me to try my tricks in a more stressful situation.

“I thought the auditions were going to be like the hardest job interview, but it was really lovely. Everyone was leaning in to help me.”

Discarded royal concert

Even after those two auditions, Richard did not know if he would appear before the judges until four days before.

Such a small notice left him unsure whether he would be allowed to leave his duties in the British Army, where he had served for 12 years.

Richard explains: “I thought I didn’t succeed because I didn’t get a response from them for about five months.

“Then on Tuesday in February, they asked me to go to The Liverpool Empire Theater that Friday.

“It didn’t take me long to figure out what I was going to do, to have a day off work, or to travel there.

I am a musician in the army and was supposed to perform for The Queen at Buckingham Palace on the day of my hearing as a judge.

Richard Jones

“I’m a musician in the Army and had to perform for The Queen at Buckingham Palace that day.”

Fortunately for the Lance Corporal, his bosses in The Queen’s Ceremonial Bodyguards “were very helpful”.

On the day of his big audition, Richard waited up to eight hours to be seen and was not allowed to leave the venue.

He recalls: “I appeared in the morning thinking that I would be there for a few hours, but it took a long time.

“You couldn’t leave the theater if you missed your slot and I was there for seven or eight hours without food.

“All I could think about – even during my audition – was that I couldn’t wait to leave and go to Burger King.”

Changed trick

Richard read Amanda Holden's mind and cut a silhouette of David Beckham out of paper

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Richard read Amanda Holden’s mind and cut a silhouette of David Beckham out of paperCredit: ITV – Britain’s Got Talent

Richard didn’t have much time to prepare, but says a producer dropped a suggestion on what to include in his action.

He says: “I changed my routine a bit from the first audition because a producer told me,‘ By the way, I saw you do a trick on YouTube with the cut-out and I really liked that.

“Previously, I wasn’t 100 percent sure the cut-out trick was attractive enough, especially since you only have 30 seconds to prove your worth before you risk being buzzed.”

To viewers at home, it seems that Britain’s Got Talent venues are packed to the brim – but in fact, that’s not always the case.

Richard explains: “The studio where I performed in the live finale held about 300 viewers, but when I watched it at home, it looked huge.

“It looked like there were thousands of people, but it was a small room.”

Imperca gago

David Walliams joked about Britain's Got Talent

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David Walliams joked about Britain’s Got TalentCredit: ITV – Britain’s Got Talent
Richard turning a fizzy drink into hot milk tea for David Walliams

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Richard turning a fizzy drink into hot milk tea for David WalliamsCredit: ITV – Britain’s Got Talent

Before the live rounds, six actions are grouped together whether they have passed through or not.

“Your first instinct is to look at everyone else and ask if they’re good enough for the finale,” Richard explains.

“We were the last ones to be revealed that day and heard a lot of screams and shouts of joy in front of us, so it was awful and I didn’t think we would get through.

“Of course, David Walliams did the typical thing where he said, ‘Sad news, unfortunately …’ that leaves you bloated and then adds, ‘You have to come back for the finale.’

The judges seem to have a delicate point for some of the actions, but Richard insists they are “very professional” and avoid bias at all costs.

He says: “They make sure you are kept separate from the judges until you are in the air.

“The only time I ever saw them was during a performance.

“That’s good because it means they don’t know you and do it right.

“Everyone gets the same time to express who they are and perform.”

Last minute speed

Richard claims that the judges are not friends with the actions to stay professional

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Richard claims that the judges are not friends with the actions to stay professionalCredit: ITV – Britain’s Got Talent
In the finale, Richard brought in former prisoner of war Fergus Anckorn who inspired him to perform magic.

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In the finale, Richard brought in former prisoner of war Fergus Anckorn who inspired him to perform magic.Credit: ITV – Britain’s Got Talent

Richard was ecstatic to make it through the finale but was also aware of how little time he had to prepare.

He says: “We had two weeks to put it all together. Fortunately, my beautiful group of friends in the magical world helped me come up with ideas.

“Everything was super fast and it wasn’t long. There’s always a big last-minute rush and never enough time on TV. “

Trophy is gone

After being crowned the winner, Richard was ferryed across to the ITV2 team for an interview and presented with a trophy.

But within minutes of receiving it, the praise gave a compelling magical performance of its own by disappearing.

Richard recalls: “I took off the trophy while the judges all came to hug me and have photos with them.

“When I finished two minutes later, it was gone. Someone from Britain’s Got Talent team or the crowd must have pinched it.

“I was gutted. While I have a nice photo to remember that moment, I planned to put the trophy in my house. “

Richard performs a clever sword trick in front of Prince William

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Richard performs a clever sword trick in front of Prince WilliamCredit: Richard Jones

Richard is now an Ambassador for the British Army and has performed for celebrities and even the Royal Family – but one show stands out.

“My favorite moment was when I had Prince William on stage and managed to make an illusion with him,” he says.

“I can’t believe I staged the future King of England. I was a little worried that his security team would rugby me when I pulled out my sword.

“Stringly, they probably trusted me. I was a little desperate because if they treated me, it would become headlines around the world.”

Army made me a better magician

In 2010, Richard began performing magic for his fellow soldiers, and he thinks their blunt answers explain why he won the show.

He believes that his “military mindset” helped him to perfect his craft and the task taught him the patience to perfect his action.

Richard says: “To be a successful magician, you have to pay attention to the smallest details that are similar to what you are taught in the Army.

“It’s things that most people don’t worry about, like ironing your uniform without leaving a single wrinkle, but that focus has a big impact as a magician.”

While winning Britain’s Got Talent is truly the feat, Richard insists that his “dearest memories” turn out to be for sick children.

For the past four years, he has been working with the charity Spread A Smile, which sends entertainers, face painters and therapy dogs to hospitals around the country, and arranges fun activities for families in need.

Richard said: “I met some of the most inspiring kids with Spread a Smile including a little boy and his mom who had been in the hospital for weeks because of a scary condition.

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“I feel it meant a lot to them because it took them out of the fearful mindset for a few hours and left him with the biggest smile.

“I left feeling over the world and heard the boy doing the magic tricks I had taught him for the nurses.”

Between 2022 and 2023, they will support 6,000 children with bedside and virtual visits in 30 NHS hospitals – find out more here.

Britain's Got Talent winner Richard with the Spread A Smile team

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Britain’s Got Talent winner Richard with the Spread A Smile teamCredit: Spread a Smile

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