Ashley Banjo reflected positively on his time as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, as the latest – and highly controversial – series came to an end.
Taking to Instagram on Sunday, the 32-year-old choreographer shared a snap of himself with fellow judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams as he branded the past few weeks ‘one of the best experiences of [his] life’.
The star’s post came weeks after his performance with dance troupe Diversity, which featured a moment inspired by police brutality and Black Lives Matter, attracted a record-breaking number of viewer complaints to Ofcom.
BGT: Ashley Banjo (front) reflected positively on his time on Britain’s Got Talent on Sunday, as he shared a snap of himself with (L-R) Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams
Captioning the image, Ashley, who rose to fame after he won BGT back in 2009 with Diversity, wrote: ‘It’s funny where life can take you when you least expect it!
‘It’s been one of the best experiences of my life being able to come full circle back to the show that started it all… And to make genuine friends with this lot…’
Addressing this year’s victor Jon Courtenay, he continued: ‘Congratulations @joncourtenay you’re a well deserved winner my friend.
Performance: The star’s post came weeks after his performance with dance troupe Diversity, which attracted a record-breaking number of viewer complaints to Ofcom
‘Well done to all the other contestants and thank you to everyone that has supported and shown love to me and @diversity_official over the past few weeks. It’s been special ✨#Bgt #nextchapter.’
Ashley was drafted in as a judge at the eleventh hour to replace Simon Cowell , who has been recovering at his home in Malibu, California, after a bike accident.
During Saturday night’s final, Ashley was seen laughing off Diversity’s recent Ofcom complaints when he responded to comedian Nabil Abdulrashid’s routine.
The talent judge, 32, told the virtual audience he ‘knows what it’s like to get a few complaints’ after Nabil joked about the programme becoming one of the most complained about TV shows of the decade.
Defiant: Ashley laughed off Diversity’s recent Ofcom complaints on Saturday’s Britain’s Got Talent final when he responded to comedian Nabil Abdulrashid’s routine
During his routine, the comedian addressed his previous performance getting 733 Ofcom complaints and Diversity receiving 24,500 as he hit back at critics.
In his performance on Saturday, Nabil began his act by addressing his and Diversity’s Ofcom complaints.
Making reference of climate change and the people who have complained, he said: ‘How else do you explain so many snowflakes in October?’ He also said he was surprised that complainers could even write.
Talking about his own Ofcom drama, he said: ‘That’s what upsets me, what did I say to offend anybody?
Complaints: Ashley told the virtual audience he ‘knows what it’s like to get a few complaints’ after Nabil Abdulrashid, pictured, joked about the show’s complaints record
‘You’d think I came out here and said something really inflammatory like Winston Churchill was black. By the way, he was!’
After the routine, Ashley said: ‘I know what it’s like to get a few complaints! There are two ways you can react, you can bend to pressure or you can be unapologetically yourself. And it’s pretty obvious to me which one you chose!
‘It’s not even about being black, it’s about being unapologetically you. It’s really interesting what Alesha said, almost afraid what you’re going to say.
‘In a way, I sit here, and I’m like, “Why would I be afraid of a comedian making us laugh in his own way, his own style.” I’m like, “What, because some people might be offended?” No way, I’m proud!’
Response: In response to his performance, Ashley said of Diversity’s 24,500 Ofcom complaints, ‘I know what it’s like to get a few complaints!’
Fellow judge, Amanda Holden, also addressed the backlash she had received on the show after one daring gown sparked 235 complaints.
Ashley’s joke was a reference to his dance group Diversity’s September 5th routine, which received 24,500 complaints to the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.
ITV ‘stood with Diversity’ as they featured adverts in national newspapers in support of the performance, while Ofcom announced they will not investigate the complaints.
The act saw group leader Ashley have a white man’s knee leaning on his neck, in reference to the death of black man George Floyd earlier this year.
Routine: Making reference of climate change and the people who have complained, he said:, ‘How else do you explain so many snowflakes in October?’
Nabil received 733 complaints objecting to his semi-final Britain’s Got Talent routine, which saw him tackling racism in his act.
The funnyman, 35, wowed the judges with his act that saw him joke about racism, with one moment seeing him make a joke about how his ‘white liberal left-wing friend’ told him to ‘forget he was black’ so that he wouldn’t be subjected to racism.
During his performance, he also quipped: ‘People watching will think that it’s another of one of those Black Lives Matter guys doing jokes about stop and search.
‘No, it’s a joke about being fat. Big Narstie and I are both fat, we just both happen to be black too. Don’t throw in the race card guys!’
Support: ITV ‘stood with Diversity’ as they featured adverts in national newspapers in support of the routine, while Ofcom announced they will not investigate the complaints any further
The judges were impressed by his performance, with Alesha, 40, remarking: ‘I really enjoyed it, the reason I picked you as my Golden Buzzer is you’re quite edgy, you’re different, and you’re that guy.
‘It’s okay to feel a bit uncomfortable with comedy, I think that’s what comedy is about and I think you’re very brave to take on the subject of racism, very poignant right now.’
She went on: ‘I think we all need to learn to laugh a bit more and have fun so well done, it was great.’
Ashley, who recently admitted he and his fellow Diversity members were subjected to racist abuse following their performance in the show’s first semi final, called Nabil’s act ‘legendary’.
Where it all started: Ashley and his Diversity dance troupe rose to fame as winners of Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009. Pictured at ITV’s London studios shortly after their win
After being voted through to the final, Nabil was emotional and claimed he was happy he had made it through because it ‘meant a lot’ as he represented a lot of people.
Nabil later tweeted after the show: ‘Funny how I made fun of lefties too but so far it’s not them wishing death on me or sending me abuse.. hmmm who were the snowflakes again?’
He also penned: ‘I promise to do no jokes about racism or Islamophobia in my final if I experience no racism or Islamophobia between now and then.
‘They want to complain? Ok, I’ll give them something to complain about.. TUNE IN ON SATURDAY.’
Complaints: Britain’s Got Talent became the most complained about TV show of the decade with Amanda’s racy dress (pictured) receiving 235 Ofcom complaints
Britain’s Got Talent has become the most complained about TV show of the decade.
The series, which concluded on Saturday, has seen 27,898 people make official complaints to the media regulator, with the amount jumping ahead of the previous most complained about show, Celebrity Big Brother.
The now defunct Channel 5 reality show saw 25,372 people protest to Ofcom after actress Roxanne Pallett wrongfully accused actor Ryan Thomas of maliciously hitting her.
On Saturday’s final, musical comic Jon Courtenay become the first ever Golden Buzzer act to win Britain’s Got Talent.
Winner! On Saturday’s final, musical comic Jon Courtenay become the first ever Golden Buzzer act to win Britain’s Got Talent