I was BGT star The Witch and wowed the judges and audiences – but a wrong move has left me a complete unknown | The Sun

THE DAD who found infamy playing The Witch on Britain's Got Talentadmits he is still 'kicking himself' for staying anonymous.

Martin Portlock horrified and delighted audiences with his creepy performances but said he was unable to lap up the fame like other contestants.

So intense was the act, The Witch famously had judges Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon squealing and fleeing their seats. 

One appearance saw him hand apples to the hesitant judges, including Simon Cowell and David Walliams.

Three were bitten into and proved to be perfectly edible while one crumbled into a pile of creepy crawlies, including cockroaches, that scuttled all over the judging panel's desk. 

The dad-of-two was forced to step into the shoes of a previous performer who was unable to continue the role in the 2022 semi-final and also returned for the show's 'Ultimate Magician' series. 

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Despite being no stranger to performing, the 41-year-old actor was forced to roll up his sleeves and go through magician training to ensure he was up to scratch too. 

In addition to his gruelling magical training, Martin had to endure four hours in the make-up chair having prosthetics fitted – and another hour peeling them off when it was over. 

To further add to the mystique of the character, Martin chose to hide his true identity – a decision he ultimately came to regret and says he 'punched himself' over the move.  

He also offered some advice to terrified judge Amanda Holden – urging her to "know her fears".  

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Martin, from Ellesmere, Shropshire, said: "I didn't want to say who I was as it takes something away from the performance, it takes the magic away. 

"I had to bite my tongue for quite a while as all the shows were going on. That was kind of a personal choice because it added energy to the Witch and the character and the mystery. 

"But at the same time, it was horrible because you see all of these contestants coming through and they get that recognition. 

"Acting is a hard profession, especially when it comes to recognition. 

"When I was backstage I was punching myself thinking 'what am I doing? No-one knows who I am. What's the point of doing this?'. 

"I had to bite my tongue for quite a while as all the shows were going on." 

Despite being unable to lap up the media attention, Martin did disclose to close friends and family that he was the man behind the prosthetic mask. 

Martin said: "I had close friends and family that knew I was doing it – people that I knew I could trust. They're your rocks. 

"But I did have a lot of friends who I couldn't tell that I was doing it because friends tell friends. I had to be very tight-lipped about it." 

Hiding his identity wasn't the only hardship Martin was facing while on the show, he and his partner also endured several "life struggles" at the same time. 

Martin said: "While I was doing The Witch we were struggling with IVF and had several life struggles, including the loss of a family member, so that was another emotional challenge to go through while I was trying to do this immense stage show. 

"Just before you walk onto stage, you have to put all of that emotion and everything you're struggling with into a box and leave it on the side of the stage, and then walk out and just be that character." 

The brains behind The Witch were Shaune and Paula Harrison from The Prosthetics Studio, who have done the prosthetics for huge film franchises such as Harry Potter and Star Wars. 

Shaune and Paula reached out to Martin to play The Witch after the original actor, who doesn't want to share their identity, couldn't continue playing the role. 

Martin said: "They explained to me that the person who did the original Witch in the audition couldn't continue to do it. So they were stuck. 

"They got the four yeses and they got through to the semi-final, so they asked me to do it and I was just like, wow, this is big news." 

The judges were branded 'wonderful' by Martin, with special praise given to Amanda for fearfully taking part in his spooky routine. 

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Martin said: "Amanda's an absolutely fantastic sport and Alesha was wonderful. In fact, they were all wonderful. 

"All I would say to Amanda is 'know your fears darling, and grow stronger from them'." 

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