Lee Ridley has been crowned winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2018, and this marks a real turning point for disabled people across the globe! He won a staggering 21% of the 2.5 million public votes and beat fellow comedian Robert White into first place to take home the £250,000 cash prize.
Known by his stage name “Lost Voice Guy”, Lee has cerebral palsy and can now only communicate using a voice synthesiser, and to perform his stand-up routines he uses a tablet computer. Lee is the first comedian to win BGT and the first in the entire world to win using some form of communication aid.
He was first diagnosed with the condition when he was six months old and began losing his voice as a young child, which was when he started to use humour to overcome any barriers he faced with his disability.
Prior to becoming a comedian, Lee was a journalist and worked with local newspapers in Cumbria and the North-East as well as in the communications team at Sunderland City Council. He also acquired a degree and Masters from the University of Central Lancashire.
In 2012, he decided to pack in journalism and began touring the comedy circuit in the North-East. His unique act started getting noticed and his fan base started growing.
Two years later, he won the BBC Radio New Comedy Award after performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He also co wrote BBC Radio 4 series Ability with comedian Katherine Jakeways, which was a semi-autobiographical comedy about a man with cerebral palsy who can only communicate through his tablet.
Lee’s career really took off after he challenged comedian Ross Noble to a Stephen Hawking impersonation contest at one of Ross’ shows. He was so blown away by Lee’s performance that he invited him to be his warm up act!
Since then, he as been the support act for many other household name comics including Patrick Kielty and Jason Manford.
Ridley shared a photo on social media the day after his triumphant win. It had the words "It wasn't a dream then?! #bgt", and captioned a video clip of Declan Donnelly announcing him as the winner as "the moment my life changed".
Seeing as the final brought in over 10 million viewers and with Simon Cowell reportedly planning on taking the winner stateside, it seems as though Lost Voice Guy is set to take the comedy world by storm!
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