Ashley Banjo

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Ashley Banjo
Ashley Banjo at the National Television Awards.jpg
Banjo interviewed by UK Gossip TV at the National Television Awards in 2020
Born
Ashley Modurotolu Banjo

(1988-10-04) 4 October 1988 (age 32)
Leytonstone, London, England
OccupationDancer, Television Presenter
Years active2009–present
Height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[citation needed]
Spouse(s)Francesca Banjo
ChildrenRose Adura Banjo & Micah Grace Banjo
Current groupDiversity
DancesStreet dance

Ashley Modurotolu Banjo (born 4 October 1988), is an English street dancer, choreographer and actor. He is the leader of dance troupe Diversity who won the third series of Britain's Got Talent. Banjo was a judge on the Sky1 talent show Got to Dance and co-presenter of the Saturday night BBC game show Can't Touch This.

Ashley has been a judge on the ITV show Britain's Got Talent since September 2020.

Early life and education[edit]

Son of former heavyweight boxer Funso Banjo and Danielle,[1][2] Banjo was educated at the independent St John's School, Billericay, where he was head boy and still holds the high jump sports day record.[3]

Diversity[edit]

In 2007, Ashley and his younger brother Jordan formed Swift Moves with nine of their friends, before later changing their name to Diversity. He was given the nickname 'Chosen' by his fellow Diversity members. In their first year together, they won the Street Dance Weekend 2007 competition before deciding to enter Britain's Got Talent.[citation needed]

Britain's Got Talent[edit]

In 2009, Diversity won the third series of ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent.

After receiving "yes" votes from all three judges in their audition, Diversity went on to compete in the first semi-final on 24 May, losing the public vote-decided first place to Susan Boyle but winning the judges' vote against Natalie Okri. In the final six days later, Diversity were announced as the winners, beating Boyle and Julian Smith (who came second and third respectively). As winners of the competition, Diversity received £100,000 (around £9,090 per member) and went on to perform before Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Variety Show on 7 December 2009.[4]

Post Britain's Got Talent[edit]

Subsequently, Diversity were nominated in the Dance section of the final South Bank Show awards and won an award at the Pride of Britain Awards[5]

In 2012 Diversity did their first arena tour called "Digitized – Trapped in the Game". Ashley Banjo choreographed, produced and directed the tour.[citation needed]

In 2013 Ashley choreographed a third tour for Diversity called Limitless. The tour ran from 30 November to 16 December.[6][7]

Television work[edit]

Ashley was a judge on Sky1's dancing talent show Got to Dance for all five series. Diversity appeared as guest performers at least once every series. In total they did nine performances on the show.[8] In 2015, he presented Perspectives: Michael Jackson's Thriller with Ashley Banjo.

In 2016, Banjo co-presented Can't Touch This, a Saturday night game show for BBC One, alongside Zoë Ball.[9] In 2017, Banjo was a judge on the new ITV series Dance Dance Dance, presented by Alesha Dixon and Will Best.

Since January 2018, Banjo has been part of the judging panel on Dancing on Ice, starting with its tenth series in 2018.[10]

In August 2020, it was announced that due to Simon Cowell's bike injury and recovery period, Banjo would replace Cowell for the live semi-final and final shows of the 14th series of Britain's Got Talent.[11]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role
1996 Barrymore Himself
2009, 2016, 2020 Britain's Got Talent Himself (2009, 2016), Guest Judge (2020)[11]
2010 StreetDance 3D Aaron
2010–2014 Got to Dance Himself as a judge
2011 The Real Hustle Himself
The Magicians Himself
The Apprentice Himself
Text Santa Himself
2012–2014 Ashley Banjo's Secret Street Crew Himself
2012 Celebrity Juice Himself
The Cube Himself, won £20,000 to split between NSPCC and Beatbullying
2013 Stella Himself, episode 2.7
Celebrity Juice Himself
Jordan and Perri's Ultimate Block Party Himself
2014 Ashley Banjo's Big Town Dance Himself
Stars at Your Service Himself
This Morning Himself
Release the Hounds: Jingle Hell Himself, team won £12,000 to split between NSPCC and Beatbullying[12]
2015 Diversity Live Himself
You're Back in the Room Guest
Perspectives Michael Jackson's Thriller with Ashley Banjo Himself, presenter
2016 Can't Touch This Himself, co-presenter
2017 Diversity Presents Steal the Show Himself
Dance Dance Dance Himself as a judge
All Round to Mrs. Brown's Himself, guest
2017— The Real Full Monty Himself, co-presenter[13]
2017 Catchphrase: Celebrity Special Himself, contestant
Pride of Britain Awards Himself, roving reporter
A Night for the Emergency Services Himself, presenter
2018— Dancing on Ice Himself as a judge
2019— Flirty Dancing Himself, presenter[14]

Personal life[edit]

Following winning Britain's Got Talent in 2009, Banjo took a break from his schooling to concentrate on his dancing.[citation needed] He said that "from the age of 14, I started to teach myself routines". Banjo has been in a thirteen-year relationship with Francesca Abbott, who is a member of another dance troupe called Out of the Shadows. They announced their engagement on 2 October 2014.[15] Ashley and Francesa have two children, Rose born 2019 and Micah born 2020.[citation needed]

Ashley Banjo is an Official Ambassador of the United Dance Organisation.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://metro.co.uk/2020/06/22/ashley-banjos-dad-feared-speaking-about-george-floyds-death-case-harmed-career-12887483
  2. ^ https://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/4412460.diversity-stars-mum-is-proud-of-her-boys/
  3. ^ McGarry, Lisa (24 May 2009). "Britain's Got Talent: Can Diversity Beat Flawless?". Unreality TV. Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  4. ^ Leach, Ben (30 May 2009). "Diversity beat Susan Boyle to win Britain's Got Talent". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  5. ^ "Diversity nominated in Arts award". BBC News. 7 January 2010. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Limitless tickets". Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Limitless". Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Jordan and Perri talk about Diversity performances". Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  9. ^ "BBC game show hosted by Zoe Ball wraps up filming in Titanic Quarter's T13: Can't Touch This set to return to Belfast". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Dancing on Ice confirms Ashley Banjo as judge for 2018 series". Digital Spy. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  11. ^ a b Alex, Susannah; er (23 August 2020). "Britain's Got Talent announces Ashley Banjo as Simon Cowell's replacement for semi-finals". Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Release The Hounds". facebook. Retrieved 24 November 2014.[non-primary source needed]
  13. ^ "Press Releases".
  14. ^ Flirty Dancing Stand Up To Cancer special: Everything you need to know
  15. ^ "Ashley Banjo on twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2 October 2014.[non-primary source needed]
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]