What can we expect from tonight's performance?
You can expect more magic, more mystery and probably quite a bit of sillyness!
Have the nerves hit you yet?
I am a bit nervous already, I’m known for being a bit nervous when I do things like this, I was particularly nervous in my audition. I do think that’s going to be a bit of a problem, I’ve got to try and control the nerves. I think they will probably come across a bit in my performance whatever I do but yeah I am very nervous. I think when I’m in the theatre it’s really going to hit me.
Have you ever applied for BGT before?
No, I’ve never applied before but I’ve thought about it for years and years and years and finally did it.
What do you hope to gain from this experience?
I’d just like the opportunity to make more people laugh and get myself out to a bigger audience. I love making people laugh whether it’s at a comedy club or a children’s party, I just love the opportunity to make people laugh.
So, what’s your Essex background?
I’m from Essex, I was born in Orsett Hospital and grew up in Corringham in Stanford-le-Hope. I went to Gable Hall School
in Corringham, my brother actually teaches at Gable Hall now as well - he’s got a sensible job whereas I’m a clown. After that I went to Palmers College
in Grays where I studied performing arts. I wasn’t ever going to be an A-Level sort of person, so I did a BTEC in performing arts. I always wanted to be an actor, but one of my first teachers said to me when I was about 17, he said: “I see you more as an entertainer than as an actor” and that has always stuck with me. So after that I did tend to go down the route of entertainer rather than actor. After that, I left Essex for a few years and went to work in holiday camps. Then I left holiday camps in 2008 and moved back to Essex and started doing kids parties and stand up comedy. I now live in South Woodham Ferrers in Essex.
Do you have any favourite places to go in Essex?
Leigh-on-Sea is a lovely place. When you said favourite place in Essex, the first place I thought of was Leigh-on-Sea, it reminds me of sunny days. I think Southend is great, I’ve got a little girl now and Southend is a great place for a day out, Adventure Island
is a great place for kids. I think there is a lot of nice places in Essex and there’s nice people in Essex. Chelmsford of course is a city now, so I like Chelmsford as well. I like where I live, South Woodham Ferres is really nice with really friendly people. It’s quite a small town, but there has actually been a Britain’s Got Talent winner from South Woodham Ferres before so I’m following in big South Woodham Ferres footsteps. That was Richard Jones in 2016
he’s from the same town as me.
What about your favourite restaurant in Essex?
That’s a tough one. I haven’t been there in ages, but I’ll tell you where’s good, Alvaros in Westcliff.
It used to be one of my favourites but I haven’t been there in a long time. Another place I’ve been, I’ve only been once but it’s really good, Vita Bella in Hanningfield
which is only 10 minutes from me and I was amazed how good that was.
Have you been recognised anywhere yet?
Yes, I’m getting recognised all of the time, all the kids are wanting photos and I’ve been doing autographs. Even going to ASDA to do my shopping in South Woodham Ferres I’ve got people saying hello, wanting photos. I love it though it’s great - I was always quite well known with kids in Essex so this has just made it go even more bonkers. I even got recognised as far as Blackpool, I was in KFC in Blackpool and some of the people in there recognised me.
What would it mean to you to perform at the Royal Variety?
For me, if I ever got the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety, it would just be massive, a dream come true. I’m a variety entertainer, I’ve done many things over the years, kids entertainment, magic, comedy clubs, all sorts of things, but for me variety is my style. I think for many years the Royal Variety
show has been the biggest stage for variety artists so for me getting on that show would be the pinnacle of my career.
Have you got close to any of the acts on the show?
I was really pleased that 4MG went through the other night, I met them on deliberation day and they were really, really nice. They were actually in my group for the deliberation bit, so I was really pleased that they went through because they were really nice chaps. Siobhan Phillips that also went through the other night, I’ve met Siobhan and she was very nice. I was pleased that they both went through because they were both very nice people. One of the acts that is on with me tonight, Jimmy Tamley,
I used to know him years ago when I was an entertainer at a holiday camp. He was one of our cabaret acts, so I used to introduce him to the stage many times. When I met him at deliberation day I don’t think he remembered me because, well, I’ve got older and fatter. I’d like to see anyone do well, obviously I’d like to do well myself but I also love seeing other people do well.
Has your phone been ringing more than usual for bookings?
My phone and messages have been absolutely crazy ever since I was shown on BGT, after my audition was shown it took me about four or five days to get through all the messages. So many people showing support, it’s been brilliant.
Will you still be known as BAM BAM?
Well obviously I’m well known as BAM BAM the kids entertainer but on the TV show I’ve been using my real name Graeme Mathews, so I think I’m just going to be known as both titles, maybe Graeme Mathews AKA BAM BAM, or Graeme BAM BAM Mathews - that’s got a ring to it!
Does performing run in the family?
To a certain extent, my dad is an entertainer but he actually got it through me rather than the other way round. I had a great aunt who was a variety performer, she done everything, she was an acrobat and was around in the variety days and she performed in the Palladium and many big theatres around the world. She worked with people like Bruce Forsyth, Laurel and Hardy, all of the big variety stars in the 40s and 50s.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about taking the plunge and going on Britain's Got Talent?
My advice to anyone thinking about going on Britain's Got Talent is just go for it, just do it, give it your best. Honestly, I wish I done it years ago. I was a bit scared of it going wrong and not getting a good reaction which is why I didn’t do it. But when I did it and I got four yeses and found out I was in the semi-final, I literally just thought why did I not do this years ago?
Graeme will be performing live on tonight's Britain's Got Talent semi-finals on ITV, download the app to unlock free votes.