Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 12:07 UK

Priest's Talent audition defended

Neil Horan dances outside the Old Bailey in October 2004
Neil Horan has a history of disrupting sporting events

The makers of Britain's Got Talent have defended showing the audition of a defrocked Roman Catholic priest who was jailed for disrupting sporting events.

On Saturday night's show, Irish dancer Neil Horan, from south London, was put through to the next stage by judges.

Producers said his past, including invading the Silverstone Grand Prix track, came to light after recording.

It was shown because Horan had not appeared to be there "for anything other than dancing", a statement said.

Viewers of the ITV1 show watched on Saturday night as judges Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden outnumbered Simon Cowell as they voted to put Horan into the next stage of the show.

At no point during the filming day did Neil show any other motivation to be at the auditions for anything other than dancing
Talkback Thames

"This guy represents every folk dancer in the country and I, for one, am going to say yes," Morgan said.

Next Saturday's show will reveal whether Horan made it into the final stages of this year's competition.

The show's makers, Talkback Thames, said in a statement that Horan had gone to auditions to "display his talent at Irish dancing and his past only came to light following his performance".

"At no point during the filming day did Neil show any other motivation to be at the auditions for anything other than dancing.

"Therefore we felt there was no reason why we shouldn't show Neil's audition."

Drivers swerved to avoid Horan in 2003
Speeding drivers swerved to avoid Horan at the Silverstone Grand Prix

Horan told the Daily Mirror "I was proud to represent Ireland and show off my folk dancing".

In January 2005, Horan was told by the Archbishop of Southwark that he had been defrocked.

That came after he was jailed for two months in 2003 for breaching security and facing down cars at Silverstone wearing a tam o'shanter and kilt and carrying religious-themed placards.

In August 2004, dressed in the same garb, he pushed Brazilian runner Vanderlei de Lima to the side of the road as he led the men's marathon at the Athens Olympics.

In October of that year, he performed an Irish jig outside the Old Bailey in London after he was cleared of indecency with a seven-year-old girl.



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