Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Sunday, 31 May 2009 15:19 UK

Diversity dance into media spotlight


By Tim Masters
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

It's just 12 hours after they've been voted surprise winners of Britain's Got Talent, and the 11-strong dance troupe Diversity haven't slept a wink.

Yet as they meet the world's press in a frenzy of flashbulbs in central London, it's clear that the boys from Essex are already comfortable with their new-found stardom.

Despite the lack of sleep, the group are still buzzing with excitement.

"I didn't expect it, really didn't expect to win at all," says group leader and choreographer Ashley Banjo, 20. "We still haven't quite got our heads around it."

Perry Kiely
That's just big hair, it's not a big head.
Ashley Banjo on young dancer Perry Kiely

Asked how the younger members of the group will cope with the fame, he points to 13-year-old Perry Kiely's afro hairstyle and jokes: "That's just big hair, it's not a big head."

Ian McNaughton - who at 25 is the oldest member of Diversity - adds that Perry and 13-year-old Mitchell Craske are "the most down-to-earth guys you'd ever meet".

Mitchell isn't even sure if he'll be back at school on Monday morning, and admits: "I don't know how to explain it, it feels so good. Winning yesterday, I still haven't taken it in."

Perry adds: "I'm just gobsmacked."

The group members say that runner-up Susan Boyle was "really nice" about Diversity's victory.

"She said the best act won and backstage she said she saw something special," says Banjo, who's a student of natural sciences at Queen Mary College.

Fashion show

Diversity's winning routine was inspired by Transformers

Banjo recalls the moment when the shock result was announced.

"I had my speech ready to congratulate Susan, and when they said Diversity my legs actually gave way - and I'm really tall, so it's a long way to fall!"

Banjo formed Diversity two years ago at his mother's street-dance studio in Dagenham, Essex.

Before winning £100,000 in Britain's Got Talent, the group's biggest success was earning £150 from dancing at a fashion show in an Essex shopping centre.

As for how they will spend the prize money, IT graduate Terry Smith is quick to point out that he could pay off his student loan.

Banjo adds: "The money's better than a kick in the head, but it's just an extra for us. We can decide what to do with that down the line."


Diversity on their Talent win

Diversity will now take part in the Britain's Got Talent tour along with the nine other finalists next month.

They'll also be planning how to entertain the Queen at the Royal Variety Show at the end of the year.

"We only won last night!" says Banjo. "We're going to work on something, we want it to be amazing. The same way we worked hard for the competition we're going to work just as hard, harder, for the Royal Variety."

Banjo reveals that Diversity's first ever dance performance was inspired by the death of a family friend, Sylvie, from cancer in 2006.

"That piece started with a quote from Martin Luther King - 'I have a dream' - and that really is our slogan. Our dream is being achieved."

Inevitably, the boys are asked if they are prepared for all the attention from girls?

"I dunno," says Perry shyly, who with his big hairstyle and spectacles is already one of the most recognisable members of the troupe.

"He's more than ready," adds Banjo with a grin.

And as the questions come to a close, Diversity disappear inside a scrum of photographers.

They may not be getting much sleep for some time yet.

Print Sponsor

Talent results watched by 18.5m
31 May 09 |  Entertainment
Dancers beat Boyle in talent show
30 May 09 |  Entertainment
At-a-glance: Britain's Got Talent finalists
30 May 09 |  Entertainment
Susan Boyle is still 'a winner'
31 May 09 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific