BGT hopeful James Stott is a war hero who saved a squaddie pal’s life in Afghanistan, we can reveal.
Viewers saw the Marine-turned-magician voted through last night after challenging Simon Cowell to detonate explosives at random.
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James, 35, was considered for a Military Cross before leaving the forces in 2016.
He said: “Compared to the Taliban’s explosions, the ones I use on stage are nothing.
“In Afghanistan, I was based in a tiny mud compound. Every day there were near misses from bomb blasts. If an explosion went off, you’d drop to one knee and it would rain mud and debris.
“On New Year’s Eve 2008, I looked up and saw a lad had been killed by a blast. Another had his arm torn up. I thought I could help so crawled over. Then the enemy turned their fire on us.”
James, in a bulletproof sheet no bigger than a piece of paper, shielded his pal and carried him to safety. He then retrieved the dead soldier’s body.
Pals dubbed James “Steel” for his bravery.
He said: “I was due to be lined up for the Military Cross but suffered an injury in 2009 and couldn’t return to the front line.”
James served as machine gunner in Iraq in 2004, but rated the Afghanistan tour as worse. He added: “So while I was nervous performing on BGT, one thing that didn’t scare me was getting hurt.”
He added: “On the show, I had to hope that something wouldn’t go terribly wrong.
“I’ve lots of ideas for my next performance. I’d love to get my Marine pals involved if they’d agree. I kept my audition secret so they’ll be pretty surprised.”