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Most talented place on Earth? It must be Neath Port Talbot - home of half of Britain's Got Talent finalists Bars and Melody

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: June 06, 2014

By Gill Roberts / gill.roberts@swwmedia.co.uk / @Gill_Roberts

Leondre Devries, the latest talent to come off the production line.

Leondre Devries, the latest talent to come off the production line.

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IT may be best known perhaps for its mountainous landscape and heavy industry.

But the altogether glitzier side of Neath Port Talbot is also hitting the headlines again.

For an area that has thrown up a string of stars such as Hollywood legends Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins is now getting ready to do the same all over again.

Scroll down for our picture gallery of talent from NPT

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OK, so not quite on the same scale perhaps. But nevertheless, schoolboy Leondre Devries is now hoping to tread the famous steps to stardom. He takes to the stage in television's Britain's Got Talent show tomorrow evening adding to the list of showbiz stars who come from the area.

Among a long list, Neath singing superstar Katherine Jenkins, Hollywood actor Michael Sheen and comic Rob Brydon who both hail from Baglan and opera star Rebecca Evans. Don't forget either Bonnie Tyler and Ivor Emmanuel.

And that's before even considering the talent show stars, who shot to fame after appearing on our television screens.

Paul Potts had the ultimate rags to riches story when he won Britain's Got Talent in 2007.

The mobile-phone salesman, who now lives in Baglan, who now sings to audiences of thousands around the world, has even had a film made about him. One Chance was filmed in the town with 500 extras.

Then, in the past two years Port Talbot-based TDM Stage School have shone on the ITV variety show.

Nu Sxool reached the show's final in 2012 and younger group Pre-skool performed in last years final. Terry Michael, who runs TDM, said he was delighted the county's talent was really shining through. "I think it is incredible," he said.

"There was Paul Potts first, then Nu Sxool, Pre-skool and now Bars and Melody. It is so amazing for such a small place — the amount of talent that is there."

Mr Michael said it had been an amazing experience for the dancers who appeared on Britain's Got Talent. "Over the past two years we have been to Venice, Las Vegas, Dubai and all over the world. Pre-skool have also appeared in the new Nativity film. It has been incredible for them."

He said they would soon be holding a summer school at the Princess Royal Theatre.

"We have invited a casting director to come down," he said.

"I think the people of Port Talbot have got something special."

And plans are now in the pipeline for the derelict Plaza Cinema in Port Talbot to be transformed into a cultural or arts centre, with part of it dedicated to the area's acting stars.

Read our exclusive interview with Leondre in tomorrow's new 56-page Weekend magazine

Here they are - the stars of Neath Port Talbot:

Di Botcher - Has starred in Belonging, Little Britain, High Hopes and The Thick of It.

Anthony Hopkins - The Silence of the Lambs Oscar winner started his acting career at Port Talbot's YMCA

Richard Burton - The legendary stage and screen star became one of the highest paid actors in the world.

Rob Brydon - Actor, comedian, presenter, singer, and impressionist. Gavin and Stacey star.

Andrew Vicari - Port talbot artist who, as of 2004, was Britain's richest living painter.

Katherine Jenkins - Neath-born singer Katherine has made a name for herself across the world.

Pre-Skool appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2013.

Rebecca Evans - Opera star was born in the village of Pontrhydyfen.

Max Boyce - The Glynneath entertainer combines musical comedy with his passion for rugby and his mining origins.

Samira Mohammed Ali - Neath actress appeared in horror film Molly Crows.

Nu-Sxool - appeared in the 2012 Britain's Got Talent show.

Paul Potts - the first winner of Britain's Got Talent in 2007 has toured the world.

Chris Needs - The well-known Radio Wales presenter is from Cwmavon.

Michael Sheen - Has starred in films including The Queen, Frost/Nixon, and the Twilight films.

Bonnie Tyler - The Skewen girl is famous for her pop hits and represented the UK in last year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Ivor Emmanuel - Born in Margam, the singer and actor starred in 1964 film Zulu.

Ray Milland - Born in Melincryddan in 1908, he was the first Welsh actor to win an Oscar for The Lost Weekend.

Britain's Got Talent

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2 comments

  • Dai_Chotomy  |  June 07 2014, 5:45PM

    The people of Pontrhydyfen will be very surprised to read that Ivor Emanuel was born in Margam.

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  • Bugswhiskers  |  June 07 2014, 11:29AM

    No matter how willing are these lambs to slaughter, the fact remains that these youngsters are being exploited to the nth degree. What do teenagers need £250,000 for? There are adults competing who could better use that money. These children have lifetimes ahead in which to achieve their 'dreams.' It is obvious who is the driving force behind this nonsense; Charlie is lucky if he can get half-a-dozen words into the conversation. It's a pity we can't fast-forward a year to see how this partnership pans out if they succeed tonight. I forecast that it will be just a matter of months before one of the pair decides that he has all the talent, and that the other can be ditched. From the time that you could almost hear the kerching of cash registers skimming through Simon Cowell's mind when he first heard this group, the whole ethos of this series of Britain's Got Talent has been geared to promote this star-struck pair. Why else would they be taken to the USA to appear on a highly-rated talk show, other than to get trans-Atlantic viewers to vote for them, and add to the support in this country? No matter how the nation votes (do you honestly believe that Cowell is going to risk the viewers voting off his meal ticket?) the result of BGT is already decided. Neither a pushy parent, the head of an acting school (there's a clue to the 'nice' performance of the ambitious half of this duo!) or a nation's votes will disrupt Cowell's onward drive to yet more riches. Then it remains to be seen for how long the group remains together, or whether one-half will have served his purpose and will be consigned to the scrap heap. Now that would be bullying!

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