A THEATRICAL storytelling act from Wirral has reached the main auditions for this year’s Britain’s Got Talent.
Carl Loughlin-Ravenscroft has created a character called Grandpa Joe, an old man who reads fairy tales and pulls disgusting props from his book to keep young listeners entertained.
Dressed as his alter ego, 30-year-old Carl, from Bromborough, films children’s book reviews and posts them on his website and YouTube.
With the addition of dancers, Carl took his act to BGT and impressed talent show producers in the try-outs so much they put them through to the next round of the auditions.
He will perform in front of Simon Cowell in Manchester on February 3. The auditions will be shown on ITV1 around Easter.
Supporting his act are three young dancers from Adagio Dance in Bebington – Molly Noble, Rachael Connolly and Jess Sawley, who are all 12.
Also joining the troupe is dancer John Pemberton, 31, from Ellesmere Port, taking the role of Grandpa Joe’s carer.
Carl told the News: “Our first audition in December was in front of the producers and I devised a two-minute act where Grandpa Joe reads the story of Red Riding Hood to children.
“But I included a piece of musical theatre with dancers so it is a comedy production with a literacy twist.
“The producers gave feedback and said they really liked it because we came dressed in costume. They have not seen what I really look like.
“I was in character for the whole day and the other people auditioning wanted their picture taken with me. The whole audition was hijacked by Grandpa Joe.
“I wanted producers to see that it is not just about a man dressed up. The aim is to get kids reading and interested in books.”
Carl works as a manager at a Wallasey Village library and performs his Grandpa Joe sketches across Wirral.
Since creating his character, celebrities have contacted him.
Carl added: “Kerry Katona released a children’s book and wanted me to review it, so I made a video of my character reading her book. Celebrity life coaches the Speakmans have been in touch too.
“I have been busy still reading books to kids because I know they are interested in books and still come into libraries.
“But now I am concentrating on the act and we have improved it, practising to make sure it is perfect when we perform in front of Simon Cowell.
“The girls have worked really hard and the dance school is supporting us.
“I am totally different from the character. It takes me half an hour to get my make-up on.
“The reason I began doing it was to show that books are not boring and can be interesting. It is a different way to get kids reading.”