Maybe it was a knee jerk reaction, Dave. However, what I saw was dreadful. I can only base my opinion on what I saw.....and it was not pretty! I understand the show, and the way his act was edited. However, even in that short clip, he screwed it up big time IMHO. I know you have one of these puppets, as you told me at Kidabra, but I am in no way critisising the puppet. I am a big Steve Axtell fan. However, even from the bit I saw, he was obviously under-rehearsed, and should therefore not have entered the auditions.
Maybe I was wrong to say he was a dreadful performer. What I should have said was that performance was dreadful. If you know him to be a good performer outside of that clip, I am sure you are right. I feel sorry for Steve, because I think it is a shame that the first time one of his puppets is seen on British TV is in a performance like that.
Believe me, I know a lot about these shows. I was on ATV's "New Faces" in 1973, as well as "Pot of Gold" on Australian television. Both had judges critiquing my act, but I will admit this show is more vicious. But my point is that this chap must have known that. He should never have said he was a ventriloquist, and then denied it. He should never have said he was using an animatronic puppet. What would have been clever is, when the judge said "that's a mechanical toy, isn't it?" he had responded with something like "Ofcourse he's not. He's real. Now you are upsetting him."
As for that other clip I showed.....well, I think tyhat speaks for itself!
Look forward to seeing you and Sally at Kidabra, Dave!! JR