South Shields teen to join Dawn French on ITV’s Little Big Shots

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Talented teen James Bassett has made it on to the small screen after wowing TV producers with his ukelele skills.

The George Formby fan, from Walworth Avenue, South Shields, first picked up the instrument at the tender age of five.

James Bassett with host Dawn French.

James Bassett with host Dawn French.

Since then he has been entertaining crowds in South Tyneside and beyond with his cheeky chappie renditions of the comedian’s classic songs ‘Leaning on a Lampost’ and ‘With my little stick of Blackpool Rock’ amongst others.

Now, the 13-year-old has been chosen to feature on ITV1 show Little Big Shots hosted by actress and comedienne Dawn French after his talent was spotted by TV scouts on You Tube.

Producers contacted Colin Bourdiec, from the North East branch of the George Formby society of which James is a member, who in turn called his parents.

The Harton Technology College pupil will perform on April 12.

I wasn’t sure whether to be nervous or excited, but once I got down there it was such a great experience.

James Bassett

James said: “I’d never heard of the show before so I didn’t really know what to expect when I went down there.

“I wasn’t sure whether to be nervous or excited, but once I got down there it was such a great experience.

“It was really interesting to see all the different people and the variety of acts - the talent was really impressive.”

James added: “You performed in a studio with an audience but I don’t think it really hit me, that it was going to be seen by millions of people.

James Bassett who appeared on Little Big Shots with Dawn French.

James Bassett who appeared on Little Big Shots with Dawn French.

“You can’t really describe it, it was just fun. To see all the other acts was brilliant and Dawn French was amazing - everyone was lovely.”

James first burst onto the performance radar in South Tyneside at the age of six when his rendition of George Formby’s When I’m Cleaning Windows proved a huge hit with crowds at summer talent contest hosted by Tommy the Trumpeter in 2010.

He narrowly missed out on making it through to the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2012 making it to the last 170 acts from more than 60,000 hopefuls.

He added: “I didn’t tell anyone at first, then when I said I was going to be on a TV show, they didn’t believe me. It was only when they saw me on the advert that’s when everyone realised.”

James, who picked up his singing style from his idol from watching You Tube clips, hopes to take his act to the next level by giving more modern songs a George Formby twist.

*Little Big Shots airs on Wednesday nights on ITV1 at 8pm.