A YOUNG performer who was a TV talent show judge while still a student will appear on a festive edition of the programme.

Ash Stevenson, 22, from Baildon was one of the judges on BBC1 Saturday night show All Together Now, broadcast earlier this year. Now he has recorded a second series of the popular show - featuring Spice Girl Geri Horner as head judge and presented by comedian Rob Beckett - and is a judge on a celebrity version on Christmas Eve.

Ash is also starring in Beauty and the Beast at Cleckheaton Town Hall, which opens tonight. "I'm playing the Prince and the Beast. It's my first professional job since graduating," said Ash, who studied musical theatre at the University of Central Lancashire. "It's a great family show for Christmas."

Ash, a former pupil of Titus Salt School, was in his final year at university when he was approached by the All Together Now team. "They contacted me through social media. I thought it was a scam at first, then I was asked to do a Skype audition," he said. "I went to London to meet the producers and it went well. I made an offhand joke in rehearsal and it got me noticed!

"I was really pleased to be asked back for the second series."

In the show, contestants face a judging panel of 100. If a judge likes a contestant's singing, they stand up during their performance.

"It wasn't just the singing that made me stand up, but the whole performance," said Ash. "There's an element of responsibility with it, because you can make or break someone's career. I always took into account whether I thought someone could actually win the show."

Ash has filmed the second series, which will be screened in 2019, and the Christmas special, which sees reality star Gemma Collins, football legend Chris Kamara, presenter Alison Hammond, EastEnders actress Laurie Brett, England rugby star Ben Foden, Love Island (2017) winner Amber Davies, comedian and actor Omid Djalili, stand-up comedian Sara Pascoe and actor Tyger Drew-Honey competing to win.

"None of them are singers so there was more of a fun feel to it," said Ash. "It's a great show to be involved with. I've developed friendships with some of the other judges, we have a bit of banter on and off camera.

"Geri does a lot of backstage filming. She's lovely, she goes out of her way to speak to everyone. She likes to be a matchmaker for the judges!"

He added: "It's an amazing experience for me, I've learned a lot from seeing how a big TV show gets made. There's nothing staged or set up about it - what you see on TV is real."

* All Together Now is on BBC1 on December 24 at 7.15.

* Beauty and the Beast runs at Cleckheaton Town Hall until Sunday, December 23. For tickets call (01274) 335030.