THE drama teacher of Jamie Leahey has spoken about the ventriloquist's "incredible talent" and the "bright future" that lies ahead of him.

Lewis Devine, founder of the Divine Theatre Company in Knowsley, first met Jamie working on a pantomime at St Helens Theatre Royal five years ago.

Nurturing his talent as a performer, he realised Jamie had "something special" after the 13-year-old sent him a video of his ventriloquist act - a skill that he learned and developed by himself throughout lockdown.

St Helens Star: Lewis first met Jamie working on a pantomime in St Helens five years agoLewis first met Jamie working on a pantomime in St Helens five years ago

After receiving one-to-one training sessions with Lewis, Jamie took Chuck on stage for the first time at Knowsley's Leisure and Culture Park in October 2021.

Following this, Jamie gained an audition for Britain's Got Talent which is where their working relationship stepped up a notch.

Throughout his Britain's Got Talent journey, the pair worked on three different scripts which included witty jokes and original songs to wow the judges and audiences.

St Helens Star: Lewis trained Jamie through each of his Britain's Got Talent performancesLewis trained Jamie through each of his Britain's Got Talent performances

With only days to practise between the semi-final and final, Lewis temporarily moved his studio into Jamie's grandparent's house so they could spend as much time as possible perfecting his routine.

The culmination of all this hard work resulted in Jamie coming runner-up in Britain's Got Talent 2022.

St Helens Star: Lewis Devine teaches youngsters performing arts at his Divine Theatre Company in KnowsleyLewis Devine teaches youngsters performing arts at his Divine Theatre Company in Knowsley

Lewis, who was raised in Southport and now lives in Ormskirk, said: "Jamie deserves all the credit he gets, he shines like a superstar and is such a lovely kid off stage.

"He takes everything on board so after the script was written, it was just a process of practicing the timing and delivery of his jokes, and waiting for the audience's laughter before moving on."

St Helens Star: Lewis has been working in the entertainment industry from a young ageLewis has been working in the entertainment industry from a young age

Working in the entertainment industry from the age of six, Lewis has starred in TV shows such as The Big Breakfast and Brookside, and is currently the resident comic at St Helens Theatre Royal.

Following in his dad's footsteps to work in entertainment, he set up the Divine Theatre Company in Knowsley to "pass on [his] experience down to the next generation".

St Helens Star: Lewis now has around 130 pupils at his drama schoolLewis now has around 130 pupils at his drama school

Starting the company with six pupils ten years ago, the drama school's influence has gradually grown and now trains around 130 budding performers.

Following Jamie's stellar performances on Britain's Got Talent, everyone at the theatre company welcomed him back with a huge celebration two days after the final.

St Helens Star: Lewis embraced Jamie after his performance on Britain's Got Talent finalLewis embraced Jamie after his performance on Britain's Got Talent final

Lewis, 34, who attended the final of Britain's Got Talent to watch his protege perform, added:

"After his performance, Jamie showed his appreciation to me on stage and then asked me if we had drama class on Monday, which is just what he's like.

"We held the class on Tuesday instead and had a huge party for him and watched his performances back - everyone was so proud!

"I can't sing his praises enough and he has 100% got a bright future ahead of him.

"He's so dedicated and has an incredible talent. If he's this good now, imagine what he will be like in five or six years!

"To see him grow from the young lad I met in St Helens five years to the success he has received on Britain's Got Talent is just amazing.

"He is one of my greatest achievements."

St Helens Star: Lewis said Jamie is one of his "greatest achievements"Lewis said Jamie is one of his "greatest achievements"