Top performers

TV star Will Mellor pictured with some of the finalists.
TV star Will Mellor pictured with some of the finalists.

YOUNG performers took centre stage as they fought it out in a competition judged by a top TV star.

Castle Dene Shopping Centre, in Peterlee, and TFM Radio provided a platform for youngsters to show off their skills, whether in singing, dancing, or playing an instrument.

The event, called the Next Big thing, saw each of the finalists perform twice in front of TV star and competition judge Will Mellor.

Organisers say the former Hollyoaks, Two Pints of Lager and Broadchurch star had a tough job choosing his favourites as the quality of the finalists was so good.

Bosses say it has proven to be such a success they are now planning to make it an annual event.

First place went to Jordan Kirkup, who received a cheque for £300 and sang and played guitar, second was Morgan Robinson, 15, who received a cheque for £200 and danced and sang, while third place went to Hannah Oliver, nine, who received a cheque for £100 after she sang songs from the musicals.

Centre manager Barry Parnell said: “The standard was phenominal, it was so difficult to judge.

“We had a good crowd and we were pleased with the response from the public. This was our second, but now it’s going to be an annual event.

“Will Mellor was very good and he sang on stage and he was brilliant.”

Mr Parnell added: “We were trying to provide entertainment in the shopping centre to bring shoppers in.

“We had a lot of people from all over the area to see what we have got here and spend some money in the town.”