Lost Voice Guy: five interesting facts about Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley

Comedian with cerebral palsy wows nation despite being unable to speak

Britain's Got Talent, Lee Ridley
Lee Ridley on the ITV talent show
(Image credit: ITV)

Stand-up comic Lost Voice Guy, aka Lee Ridley, has become the first comedian ever to win Britain’s Got Talent.

Ridley was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which affects muscle control and movement, when he was just six months old.

“It means I can’t speak and my right side is weaker than my left. So I walk funny, too. I also developed epilepsy as a teenager. Obviously, I didn’t have enough to cope with,” he told The Guardian.

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The Newcastle-based comic used a speech synethesiser to deliver his winning performance on the hit ITV show. Judge David Walliams said his performance was “one of the best stand-up routines I’ve seen – let alone on this show”.

Following his crowning moment this weekend, Ridley took to the stage for a final time to say he had been blown away by the experience and that he was looking forward to performing for the Queen.

Interviewed before 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.”

Ridley won his biggest laugh of the night with the joke: “I started off in a disabled Steps tribute band. We were called Ramps.”

“He also joked that he had had a facelift” that was “almost as bad as Simon’s [show founder Simon Cowell]”, says the BBC.

Cowell “took the jibe in good humour”, saying after the results that he was thrilled to see Rigby win, the broadcaster adds.

Here are five things you may not know about the talent show champion:

A chance encounter with Ross Noble changed his life

In an interview with The Guardian, Ridley recalled seeing comedian Ross Noble performing a set in which he did an impression of Stephen Hawking. After the show, Ridley approached Noble and joked: “Do you want to see who can do the best Stephen Hawking impersonation?”

Noble found the incident so funny that he incorporated the story into his routine, which in turn gave Ridley the confidence to persue his own dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. He began performing sets in Sunderland, before appearing at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh in 2013.

“To be honest, I wasn’t aware there were many disabled comedians until I started myself, ” Ridley told The Guardian. “I think we provide something different, instead of just a person telling jokes followed by another person telling jokes. I guess that can get quite stale.”

He has a BBC Radio 4 sitcom

Ridley has what the Radio Times describes as the “rare honour” of having featured two weeks running in the magazine’s Radio Choices section, for his BBC Radio 4 comedy Ability. The show is “about a man with cerebral palsy, who finds it hard to get served in pubs because he already looks drunk and whose inner voice is pure Geordie, while his spoken voice sounds just like Stephen Hawking”.

You can listen to the pilot episode on Ridley’s website.

He suffered a nasty fall after the semi-final

Ridley shocked fans in the run-up to the Britain’s Got Talent final when he tweeted a picture of himself after suffering a fall at home.

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He tweeted: “This is why Lost Balance Guy never made it onto #BGT. Don’t worry though, it was only a trip.”

He reassured fans: “I’ll be match fit for the final on Sunday.”

And more than match fit he was.

He’s ready for hecklers

Ridley programmes his performances into an iPad that then delivers the words via voice synthesiser. “He usually does it before a show, but has been known to enter information into the synthesiser during a routine when he's really on a roll or a new joke comes to him,” says the Daily Mail.

Ridley told The Sun: “I have some emergency jokes, in case my iPad plays up while I’m on stage. It’s awkward at first, but the jokes help break the tension while I get it to work again.

“I’ve yet to be heckled, but I do have some comebacks stored up just in case I am – I’m dying to use them!”

He wants to change his accent

Ridley “also made his mark on BBC Three last year, when he appeared in this short film that saw him going in search of a new accent for his voice synthesiser”, says Metro.

Asked by The Sun before the Britain’s Got Talent final what he would do if he won, he replied: “If I won the £250,000 prize money, I’d get a Geordie accent for my iPad!”

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