Exclusive by Clemmie Moodie 13/04/2010
Simon Cowell is hiring a team of top psychologists to help Britain’s Got Talent contestants cope with fame… and failure. The music mogul was shaken by the breakdown of BGT star Susan Boyle shortly after she lost last year’s final to Diversity. And to help this year’s showbiz rookies deal with his famously brutal putdowns on the judging panel there will also be a counselling service. Dubbed the “Cowell cruelty hotline” it will be available 24/7 to help rejected applicants as well as those who get through to later rounds cope with the pressures of fame. A source said: “Susan Boyle proved to be TV gold but, ultimately, Simon is more concerned about welfare of the contestants than their background story. “All sorts of people have auditioned for this series and none come from showbiz backgrounds. Simon’s put-downs are legendary and sometimes people take them to heart and get upset. “Being ridiculed in front of millions of people is not much fun.” The therapists will be working with specialists from the mental health charity Mind. They will monitor everyone who appears before the judges, Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan. The source added: “Simon wants to make responsible television and, this time around, is taking no chances.” The changes, instigated by the ITV1 show’s production companies, Talkback Thames and Cowell’s Syco, comes after BGT’s sister show, The X Factor, introduced new guidelines. News of the psychologists comes days before the start of the fourth BGT series, on Saturday night. Last year’s show, which made a global star of SuBo, was won by dancers Diversity. But the hit variety programme was overshadowed by the Scottish spinster’s fragile state of mind after it emerged she swore at reporters and flipped out backstage. Twenty-four hours after the final, in which she came second, she was admitted to the Priory clinic after a nervous breakdown at her home.