Voice over artist Darren Altman has described getting through to the live semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent as “phenomenal”.
The 43-year-old was tonight revealed as one of 45 acts chosen by judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams to battle it out for a place in the finals of the popular ITV talent show.
This year’s winner will walk away with a £250,000 cash prize and the chance to showcase their skills at The Royal Variety Performance.
The Jewish performer secured a place in this week’s live shows after breezing through his audition with life-like impressions of Gordon Ramsay, David Attenborough, Jeremy Clarkson, Boris Johnson and even Britain’s Got Talent hosts, Ant and Dec.
The Kingston and Surbiton District Synagogue member said: “When I went to school I was always impersonating teachers and pupils – in fact, the teachers encouraged it and would make me stand up and do impressions! I’ve always had the ability to work out people’s idiosyncrasies and quirks.”
Prior to his voice over career, Altman was a professional drummer and trained at Leeds College of Music, before undertaking a postgraduate at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
He has toured with folk band Equation and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and even enjoyed a recent stint as a drummer in Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins.
He credits his “musical ear” for helping him to adapt his voice with relative ease.
“Each accent has almost like a song to it, you can pick up the melody in an accent and learn if it is staccato or more drawn out. But I don’t just get the voice. I try to get the mannerisms and the personality as well, which only help to improve the impression.”
Since becoming a voice over artist ten years ago, Altman has lent his talents to everything from selling jeeps and windows, to children’s toys, holiday companies and computer games.
His CV even mentions “talking microwave ovens” and “superhero pigs”, and more astute listeners might recognise his vocals for 118 or the “I am the Iams cat” adverts.
Deciding to “throw myself out of my comfort zone”, Altman applied to this year’s Britain’s Got Talent and reveals he was “massively nervous”.
He said: “The audition was terrifying. But the more the audience appreciated it, the more confidence it gave me and the more energy I had.
“If you look back at it, I was actually jumping off the floor, I was getting air! That was the sheer adrenaline running through me.”
Of his prospects for this year’s contest, Altman said he will “go all out” to be crowned the winner, but would be “thrilled” if he just reached the final.
As for what audiences can expect this week, he was keeply his lips firmly sealed, but promised it would be “a bigger and better performance”.
Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals start Sunday, 7.30pm, ITV.