The X Factor Part Of A Rich TV Tradition
Talent shows were popular in the UK from the 1950s to the 1990s, and shows such as Opportunity Knocks and New Faces launched the careers of many a singer, comedian and conjuror as TV personalities. Les Dawson, Victoria Wood, Lenny Henry, Bonnie Langford, Freddie Starr and Paul Daniels are among the acts who used these shows as a springboard. Winners were chosen either by a studio panel or postal votes phone voting was technologically inefficient until the digital age.
Around the turn on the millennium, Popstars and Pop Idol took the format a little further, launching the careers of Will Young, HearSay, Gareth Gates, Liberty X, The Cheeky Girls and the most successful, Girls Aloud. With a little help from Big Brother and The Eurovision Song Contest, the public became used to telephone voting; huge numbers could cast their votes and the results could be confirmed the same night. The scene was set for Simon Cowells project The X Factor.
What differentiates these later shows from the early talent shows is that the acts in the original programmes were usually established performers but on a small scale, working in...