Colin Thackery on starring in spin-off Britain's Got Talent: The Champions, having a chat with Prince Harry and making history with his new record deal...
After winning Britain's Got Talent back in June, Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery will be stepping back onto the stage this autumn for Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.
The spin-off of the popular ITV talent show, filmed at London’s Wembley Arena, sees winners and finalists from past series of BGT compete with acts from the various …Got Talent shows around the world in a bid to be crowned the ultimate champion.
Colin first melted our hearts when he paid tribute to his late wife with his moving rendition of Wing Beneath My Wings at the BGT auditions. After sailing through the semi-finals, Colin couldn’t believe his luck when hosts Ant & Dec announced him as this year’s winner.
Here Colin Thackery, 89, reveals why he's pleased to be returning to BGT and shares his delight at making music history by becoming the oldest solo artist in the world to sign a debut record deal...
What was it like appearing on Britain’s Got Talent?
"It was extraordinary. I’ve always loved to sing, it’s all I ever want to do. It was a good experience because the people at BGT were so nice – they all treated me like their granddad!"
Did you ever think you’d make it all the way… and win?
"No, not in a million years especially as the whole thing started as a challenge – someone dared me to do it. I didn’t think they’d want an old man like me on the show. But when someone dared me to audition, I immediately filled out the application form and sent it. And look what happened!"
We’ll see you next on Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions. Were you pleased to be performing again?
"Oh yes, absolutely! Britain’s Got Talent auditions are usually at the start of the year when it’s cold. But it’s summer now, so I was pretty hot in my heavy scarlet uniform. The show has been recorded at Wembley Arena and I was amazed when I walked in and saw the size of the place. These are all wonderful experiences that may never happen for me again."
You’re releasing your debut album next month. What can people expect?
"That’s right. Apparently, I’m the oldest person in the world to sign a record deal [with Decca Records]. The album features an eclectic mix of songs; some are favourites, others have been suggested to me… and some I’ve never heard of!"
Your performance at Royal Variety - your prize for winning BGT - is also coming at the end of the year. How are you feeling about that?
"Oh, it’s going to be marvellous. I don’t think The Queen herself will be attending but I know Prince Harry will be there because I spoke to him on our big parade that we have every year called Founder’s Day. He said: ‘See you in November,’ which was rather nice!"
You served in The Queen’s Army for 25 years – have you met her?
"No. She’s walked past me lots of times but never stopped because it’s always been a formal parade situation, where I’m standing to attention. I’ve served The Queen for 25 years and if I got to meet her it really would be the icing on the cake. Especially if I could sing to her, as well!"
What do your family make of your newfound stardom?
"All of them are very pleased and very supportive of me, which is rather nice."
Your first BGT audition was dedicated to your late wife, Joan. What do you think she’d make of what you’ve achieved?
"She would have loved it. And it wasn’t just that first performance – almost everything I do is attributed to her or my family. They are the most important people in my life."
What else would you like to do?
"There are still one or two things on my bucket list. I want to go on a cruise and I spent many years serving in Korea, Japan and Singapore, so I'd like to go back to the Far East again. I'd also love to sing with Katherine Jenkins. I met her for the first time recently, as we're both signed to Decca, and she expressed the desire to sing with me, which I thought was rather flattering."
Britain's Got Talent: The Champions begins in the autumn. Colin Thackery's debut album Love Changes Everything is out on September 20 on Decca Records.
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