Simon Cowell and Britain's Got Talent producers look likely to scrap plans to film the show this year due to the difficulties of filming during the pandemic.
It was hoped they could hold auditions over the summer with the show airing in the autumn, complete with live finals.
But producers at Thames TV and Simon’s company Syco, which make the programme, have reluctantly conceded there are no guarantees the hit series can be made safely in a few months’ time.
A source told The Mirror: “The nature of Britain’s Got Talent means we have all sorts of contestants from all sorts of places – home and abroad - taking part. While many people will have been vaccinated by the summer it remains unclear what the restrictions on mass mingling and on travel will be, so there are absolutely no guarantees production can go ahead.
The chances of it airing this year range from extremely slim to non-existent - and it’s almost certain to be the latter. No one’s happy about it – but that’s the way it is.”
A big part of the problem is the need for a live audience when it comes to reacting to the performers on stage, who include comics, choirs and contortionists plus dance and dog acts and magicians.
Last year the auditions took place before we went into lockdown. The live shows which took place in the Autumn, the producers tried to make it work with a virtual audience.
Amanda Holden spoke about filming without an audience on her radio show earlier the month saying: “I think it affects the quality of the show and with the biggest will in the world – because there’s so much hard work backstage and everyone’s really done a huge effort to make it the best show it can be - it still affects it, so I would rather wait and make it the best it can be.”
This will not be good news for Simon's company which showed a large fall in profits last year. Read more on this here: Simon Cowell's television company shows a fall in profits
The next series of BGT is hoped to air in the Spring of 2022.