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Callum Rory McKenzie Francis is a former child stage actor from Hertford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. In May 2009 he reached the semi-finals of the popular ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent. He is both Jamaican and Scottish.
Francis' love for performing began at the age of 4 when he went to a drama group for kids with special needs to try to improve his speech (due to his mild form of autism). He took up dance 3 years ago and attends a local drama school at weekends. He began attending the Sylvia Young Theatre School in September 2008.
Francis appeared in the episode "Better Drowned" of the BBC1 drama Casualty, a week before his Britain's Got Talent audition was aired, as a drug dealer's son. Francis has also tried out for a role in EastEnders as Lucas's son Jordan and a role in Doctor Who. Francis has also done voice overs and performed in theatre.
2009: Britain's Got Talent
In his audition in London in January 2009, he performed "Consider Yourself" from the musical Oliver!. Before going on the stage, Francis' mother, Linda Francis, spoke about Francis' bravery and nerves. She said "He struggles with things like attention and he takes everything literally. Someone said to him they hoped he'd go on BGT with "all guns blazing" and Callum got really worried, thinking there'd be guns on stage or something. He was terrified of Simon and the sound of the buzzers". She mentioned he had sketched pictures of the three judges, so he can balance their heads on a radiator and practice performing in front of them.
The audition was televised on 2 May 2009 and took place in London in January 2009. He received a standing ovation from the audience and no buzzers. Piers Morgan commented that Francis has "the cheekiest grin we've ever had", and Amanda Holden said "it was a very natural and unspoilt performance and you have a raw talent". Simon Cowell finished by saying "I think you have more in you than just a safe performance from Oliver, I think you are a very talented young man but I've seen that kind of audition a thousand times." He received three yes votes and was put through to the next round.
Francis appeared on GMTV with his parents Linda and Roy Francis on 4 May 2009 to talk about his hopes for the future, his studies at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and his televised audition. The judges decided to choose Francis for the 40 semi-finalists for the live semi-finals.
He performed for a second time in the semi-final on 28 May 2009, performing "The Bare Necessities" from The Jungle Book. He received yet again a standing ovation and positive comments from the judges, with Simon Cowell predicting he could be in the final.
Saxophonist Julian Smith won the public vote, with grandfather & granddaughter singing duo 2 Grand and Francis coming second and third. When it came to choosing the act who Simon Cowell wanted to put through, he said, "Based on the fact one of you doesn't really have much of a second shot at this, I'm going for 2 Grand." Amanda Holden said "I am going with my heart, and I am going for 2 Grand", therefore securing a place in the final. Francis lost out in a place in the final, though he received a standing ovation from the judges and the audience as he left the competition and, although he was no longer required to vote, Piers Morgan stated that he would have voted for Francis if he was able to.
2009–2012: Post Talent
After the show, it was reported that Francis had landed a role in the live-action film Gulliver's Travels, which hit the cinemas on 25 December 2010. He was going to star in the film alongside Jack Black. Speaking of getting the role, he said "Well right now I just got a little film part for a film called Gulliver's Travels, I am being one of the giants in it". He is not credited for this movie in IMDb.
On 13 December 2009, Francis appeared on the grand final of the sixth series of The X Factor as part of the children's choir that sang the opening lines of Take That's "Never Forget", as performed by the show's final twelve contestants.
Francis lives in Hertfordshire with his mum, Linda, dad Roy, sister Talia (who also attended Sylvia Young Theatre School with Francis) and brother Louis. He attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School until May 2009 due to his parents financial problems. His mum Linda explained: “We cannot afford the school anymore. Fees are a big cost and there is the uniform and travel.”
The Sun on 5 May 2009 reported that his parents had sent him to the stage school because he was having difficulty at his normal school. They said he had often come home and told them he had spent most of the day doing his work in the school dining room because he had been thrown out of class for being disruptive. They said "It wasn't because he was messing around in class, he just found it difficult to concentrate, which is the reason why Sylvia Young is good for him".
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- "Bravery of song boy Callum, 12". News of the World. 3 May 2009. http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/showbiz/britains_got_talent/288747/Bravery-of-Britains-Got-Talent-boy-Callum-Francis12.html. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
- Fletcher, Alex (2 May 2009). "12-year-old 'Oliver' singer on 'Talent'". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/britainsgottalent/news/a154636/12-year-old-oliver-singer-on-talent.html. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
- "Britain's Got Talent star Callum Francis on GMTV, 4 May 2009". GMTV. 4 May 2009. http://www.gm.tv/videos/star-guests/34674-callum-francis.html. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
- "BGT's Callum in Gulliver movie". Metro. 22 June 2009. http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/article.html?BGTs_Callum_in_Gulliver_movie&in_article_id=689417&in_page_id=7. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
- Template:Imdb name. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- The X Factor 2009 – The Final 12: Never Forget – Live Final
- Robertson, Colin (5 May 2009). "Callum Francis to leave acting school". The Sun. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/2411361/Callum-Francis-to-leave-acting-school.html. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
- Britain's Got Talent audition at YouTube.com
- Britain's Got Talent semi-final performance at YouTube.com
- Results of the fourth semi-final of Britain's Got Talent at YouTube.com