A 76-rule code of conduct for ITV1’s Britain’s Got Talent will outlaw the audience from clapping, booing, whistling or whooping. ‘The new rules are very clear,’ said programme creator, Simon Cowell, ‘the audience will sit quietly and listen to the acts with the solemn reverence that they deserve. Even if it is a dancing dog.’
The 76 rules have been agreed following months of tense negotiations between programme executives, performers and judges.
Other rules include a strict limit to the number of reaction shots of Amanda Holden gawping inanely, Simon Cowell leaning backwards like a businessman expecting a lap dance and no more than three shots of Piers Morgan looking like Piers Morgan.
Moderators Ant and Dec will be restricted to sitting quietly during the acts and not pulling stupid faces from behind the curtain.
Each act will be allowed a brief opening statement where they can explain the human tragedy behind their performance. Acts will be allowed one minute to describe how they are doing this for their inspirational dead grandma, parent and/or brother or sister, pet rabbit or guinea pig who are dying of an incurable disease.
After performing the acts will receive three judgments, followed by a rebuttal where they will have the opportunity to show that they can stand up to Simon Cowell. However, the audience must not at any stage go ‘Oooh!’ or ‘Aaah!’ or applaud their obviously well-rehearsed ad-lib.
‘These rules are central to making this programme a serious forum for ideas and debate,’ said Cowell, ‘the last thing we want is for it to become some sort of shallow popularity contest.’
In accordance with tradition, the winner will go on to appear at the Royal Variety Performance where they will meet the Queen and be invited to form the next government.