How time flies. 16 years ago, George Sampson was a contestant on the first ever series of Britain’s Got Talent. 15 years ago, fourteen-year old Sampson returned to win BGT S2. When Samson 1st auditioned for BGT, he didn’t know what he was getting into. At the time, he was a street dancer busking for pocket money & money to pay for dance lessons.
In 2007, Sampson’s dance teacher, Dominic Chambers, recommended that he have a go at “auditions in the area that would be right up his alley”. Sampson only discovered the audition was for the new BGT TV programme when he turned up. He did not make the live semi-final, but resolved to come back stronger in 2008. And come back stronger he did! Look:
That was the incredible final performance that won George Sampson BGT S2. Sampson very nearly chose another number for his routine in the final. For his 2008 semi-final, Sampson danced to the big beat remake of Singin’ in the Rain by Mint Royale. The performance included an on-stage rain machine, using technology that was pioneered for a TV ad for the VW Golf GTI. For the final, Sampson planned to dance to a track by the Bee Gees – he later said this dance was a lot of movement but low in skill.
An hour before the final, Sampson had a change of mind. After getting the OK from Simon Cowell, he decided to perform his popular routine from the semi-final a 2nd time in the final. This was a risk that paid off handsomely, not only for young, fresh-faced Sampson, who won the competition. Singin’ in the Rain by Mint Royale shot to number 1 in the UK the following week purely on download sales. Here is Sampson’s 2019 encapsulation of his journey to BGT success, as presented on BGT: The Champions
So what’s happened to the young dancer that charmed Britain 15 years ago? The easiest way to answer this question is to look at three subjects: 1. his back problem 2. his acting and dancing career, and 3. his hair.
Regarding George Sampson’s back, in June 2008 British newspapers reported that Sampson has Scheuermann’s disease, which adversely impacts growing bones in children and teenagers & can cause curvature of the spine. It was stated that doctors advised Sampson to give up dancing. Wikipedia reports that Sampson later said “It’s not that bad.” and claimed that his doctor had said he could continue dancing.
In the run-up to his 2019 performance on BGT: The Champions, Sampson told a slightly different, widely reported, story about his back. George Sampson said: “Around a year after winning Britain’s Got Talent I sustained a really bad back injury, and doctors told me I might not ever be able to dance again. To be told bluntly, ‘no’, was devastating. I’m stubborn. There was no chance I was going to stop dancing. It’s been a long road to recovery but I’ve worked hard and I’m back”. This is dramatized in the above 2019 video at 1:40.
Regarding his acting and dancing, George Sampson has appeared on a number of stage shows and TV series. Highlights of his soap appearances include Waterloo Road and Emmerdale. Sampson featured in the West End hip hop show, Into The Hood. He also performed in Our House, a musical about the group Madness (2017) and in UK and LA productions of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021-2022). More recently, he has played Prince Charming at Prince’s Theatre, Clacton-on-Sea.
Speaking of playing Prince Charming, George Sampson credits hair transplants with saving his career. To date he has had three. He has told Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langford that hair loss was a reasons why he avoided the spotlight for a number of years. Besides boosting Sampson’s confidence, the transplants have had a side effect. In May 2022, George told My London that he was 27, but people still treat him like a teenager. “I get patronised when I’m spoken to a lot. Young girls talk to me on TikTok like a young lad too. Girls hit on me all the time online and I have to tell them, ‘you’re too young for me’!”