The human spirit is the perseverance and courage that no disability can steal away. Britain’s Got Talent 2018 winner, aka The Lost Voice Guy is the perfect example of this. He didn’t let his physical challenges win over his passion and aspiration to greatness. Speechless since a very young age, he finally had his dream come true after he made his voice heard to the world through the BGT stage.
The stand-up comedian with cerebral palsy wowed the nation with his self-deprecating brand of humor and won the coveted competition leaving behind comedy singer and pianist, Robert White, in the second place and reggae singer, Donchez Dacres, in the third.
Performing his pre-planned routines from a voice synthesizer on his tablet, he was one of the most intriguing contestants in the show. The comic with no voice went on to make history as the first comedian ever to take home the trophy.
Ridley, who waited 37 long years to make his words heard to the world, hasn’t chosen to reveal much about himself. But, here are some facts about him that we know so far.
Ridley was born on December 31, 1980, in Consett, County Durham, England. A brain infection at just six months left him in a coma for two months and he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which affected his movement and ability to speak.
It was at the age of eight when he got his first communication device. He completed his bachelors’ degree in journalism from the University of Central Lancashire, and he furthered his studies majoring in online journalism.
In 2006, he started off his journalism career working with BBC and a local newspaper and later landed a job as a content manager in Sunderland. Before deciding to pursue a full-time career as a comedian, he also had a stint on Sunday Sun sports desk in Newcastle.
Before auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent, Lee developed and starred in his show on BBC Radio 4. He had a comedy sitcom, Ability, that ran for two weeks.
He fit-in right away in radio, thanks to his experience in journalism. The show was about a man with cerebral palsy, who finds it hard to get served in pubs as he was always looking drunk. The show was wholeheartedly funny and was received very well by the audience.
Using BGT's Prize Money to Change His Accent!
Now, this is tricky. Lee, who has joked about his computerized voice several times on TV, is looking to bring variations in his dialect by introducing methods to change his voice synthesizer’s accent. The voice that his synthesizer produces is the same as that of any computer-generated voice.
In 2017, he appeared in his short film, which saw him going in search of a new accent for his voice synthesizer. When asked what he would do if he won Britain’s Got Talent, he said,
If I won the £250,000 prize money, I’d get a Geordie accent for my iPad.
Ross Noble changed his life
Having grown with a love for comedy, he began performing stand-ups in 2012. Once he attended a show conducted by the famous British comedian, Ross Noble, who was impersonating Stephen Hawking.
After the show completed, he challenged Noble that he could do a better imitation of the physicist. Noble, who found the incident funny, incorporated the story into his routine and helped Ridley gain the confidence to pursue his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. Ridley then bought an iPad voice synthesizer app called Speak It! to formulate his routines and began performing in Sunderland before achieving a big break at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh in 2013.
Nasty Fall During BGT
Before the finals of Britain’s Got Talent, Ridley suffered a nasty fall at home. He shocked the fans when he tweeted a picture of himself with bruises on his nose and forehead. However, he assured fans that he would be ready to go in the finals. A week later, he showed up on stage and made a few jokes about his accident. Finally, he won the competition.
Way to go man!
To what extent does this differently abled man inspire you? Sound off in the comment section below.