Bushell on the box: ITV'S RECYCLED TALENT.
STEVE Brookstein deserved his place in The X Factor final. But I've got news for ITV: You first discovered him SEVEN years ago. Smiley Steve, below, was a finalist on 1997's Big Big Talent Show when he was whupped by vocal sensation Lydia Griffiths. (I'd have mentioned this sooner, but my memory of that night is dominated by two things - and both belonged to a singer called Lisa Marie.)
The Big Big Talent Show was a better show than X Factor, despite the fact that I was the resident judge. It cast its net wider, featuring comics and specialty acts as well as karaoke warblers. It got better ratings too, without any of the hype. As well as Lydia, who is currently dazzling West End audiences in Les Mis, BBTS also showcased CITV star Stephen Mulhern, Charlotte Church, comedian Andy Leach and brilliant soap impressionist Francine Lewis who really ought to have a regular telly slot. ITV mucked up by failing to build most of the promising turns the series uncovered.