Acrobatic troupe Spelbound wins 'Britain's Got Talent' final

Simon Cowell described winners Spelbound as 'the 'most astonishing thing' he'd seen on live TV

An acrobatic troupe won last night's live final of Britain's Got Talent. Spelbound, from Ashford, Middlesex, had been the bookies' favourites to win the fourth series of the TV talent show, doing so with a scantily-clad, high-energy routine to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, during which one of the 13-strong group was launched over the head of judge Amanda Holden.

Simon Cowell, the Svengali figure behind the show and one of its judges, said they were the "most astonishing thing" he had seen on live television. Holden tipped them as an opening act for the 2012 Olympics. Spelbound took home the £100,000 prize and a slot at the Royal Variety Performance.

The group are Alex Uttley, 24, Nicholas Illingworth, 24, Adam Buckingham, 21, Adam McAssey, 20, Douglas Fordyce, 19, Leighanne Cowler, 18, Edward Upcott, 18, Katie Axten, 17, Lauren Kemp, 17, Jonathan Stranks, 15, Abigail Ralph, 15, Hollianne Wood, 13, and Amy Mackenzie, 12. Most had trained as gymnasts since the age of four.

The runners-up were Twist and Pulse, a London dance act consisting of best friends Glen Murphy, 19, and Ashley Glazebrooke, 18, who only met two years ago. Holden described their unusual act as "a glimpse of the future".

Britain's Got Talent has been fertile ground for dancers. The second series was won by George Sampson, a teenage breakdancer, and last year's title went to Diversity, a frenetic, inventive troupe from east London.

Third last night was Kieran Gaffney, a 13-year-old drummer from Kent. Earlier in the show, he used a tilted drum kit to display his skills, and topped that last night by performing suspended from the ceiling.

The fourth series lacked the all-pervading hype of its 2009 predecessor, when Diversity pulled off a victory against the odds by pipping the unlikely singing phenomenon Susan Boyle to the top prize. But the show continues to glory in the finest tradition of end-of-the-pier variety show.

In addition to acrobats, the finalists included Tina Humphrey, 37, a music teacher from Shrewsbury, and Chandi (below), her 12-year-old blue merle border collie she taught to dance after rescuing her from Telford dog pound as a four-month-old puppy.

Despite high scores in previous rounds, their performance failed to make the top three. "She's a special dog and in human years she is about 100. She is looking a bit tired, I think," said Cowell, prompting boos from the audience. "There's life in the old dog," replied Ms Humphrey.

Also highly tipped had been Janey Cutler, 81, of Wishaw, Lanarkshire, singing Edith Piaf's "Je ne regrette rien". Cutler began singing in the Salvation Army at the age of six, but let her talents lapse until a friend forced her back on stage aged 50. She has since appeared regularly on her local pub and club circuit.

BGT has has also become the biggest betting occasion in Britain's reality TV calendar. William Hill expected to take 150 bets a minute throughout the two-and-a-half-hour show, averaging £8 each. The odds on a Spelbound win were 10:11. The bookie's spokesman, Rupert Adams, said the biggest bet had been £2,000 on Spelbound to win, though that was dwarfed by a £70,000 punt last year on Susan Boyle.

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?