Lost Voice Guy has been crowned the winner of Britain’s Got Talent, the first comedian ever to win the show.
The 37-year-old, whose cerebral palsy affects his ability to speak, uses a voice synthesiser for his act.
The comedian, whose real name is Lee Ridley, will receive £250,000 in prize money and the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Performance.
Musical comedian Robert White – the bookies’ favourite – came second, while singer Donchez Dacres came third.
The final was watched by an average of 8.7 million viewers, according to overnight ratings – the highest figure for the show since 2015.
After the result was announced, Ridley said via his synthesiser: “I have been blown away by the support of the judges and the general public.
“I’m very excited to perform in front of the Queen.
“I’ve loved her since she sang Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The comedian, who is from Consett, County Durham, was bruised and wearing a plaster on his nose following a fall after his semi-final performance.
He quipped that he had been told to “smash it” in the final but his injury showed he had taken this advice too literally.
Interviewed for the final, he said: “When I am performing, it’s as if I have finally found my voice – and it’s a great feeling making people laugh.”
His biggest laugh of the night came with the joke: “I started off in a disabled Steps tribute band. We were called Ramps.”
In his prize-winning performance he also joked that he had had a facelift – and it was “almost as bad as Simon’s [show founder Simon Cowell].”
But Cowell took the jibe in good humour, saying after the results that he was thrilled to see the comedian win.
“You so deserved this,” he said.
Fellow judge Alesha Dixon agreed, saying that Ridley would “inspire so many people”.
The 40 semi-finalists, initially chosen from auditions in front of the four judges, had been whittled down to the final 10 in a week of live shows leading up to the final.
The 11 previous series had seen singers, dancers, acrobats, pianists and even talented dogs among their eventual winners, but a comedian has never before taken the top prize.
Robert White, a comedian who has Asperger’s syndrome, came second in the final with a routine which drew laughs from the crowd for its mocking of the judges.
The Giang Brothers, gymnasts from Vietnam, wowed the audience by performing a daring leap that they had never completed without a safety harness before.
One of the acrobats jumped from a step on to a platform with his brother on his head, prompting judge David Walliams to call it “beyond beyond”.
Other highlights of the show included a performance from The D-Day Darlings, who sing World War Two era songs.
They brought down the house with a rendition of (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs Of Dover, which Cowell described as “amazing”.
Britain’s Got Talent final: Voting percentages
Lost Voice Guy – 21%
Robert White – 17.2%
Donchez Dacres – 11.2%
Gruffydd Wyn – 11.2%
Giang Brothers – 9.5%
DVJ – 7.1%
The D-Day Darlings – 7.1%
Jack & Tim – 6.2%
Calum Courtney – 3.5%
Micky P Kerr – 3.3%
B Positive Choir – 2.7%
The Britain’s Got Talent roll of honour
- 2007 – Paul Potts (opera singer)
- 2008 – George Sampson (dancer)
- 2009 – Diversity (dancers)
- 2010 – Spelbound (gymnasts)
- 2011 – Jai McDowall (singer)
- 2012 – Ashleigh and Pudsey (dog and owner dance double act)
- 2013 – Attraction (dancers)
- 2014 – Collabro (singers)
- 2015 – Jules and Matisse (dog act)
- 2016 – Richard Jones (magician)
- 2017 – Tokio Myers (pianist)
- 2018 – Lee Ridley (comedian)