Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

BGT’s Matt Johnson admits his act was the closest he’s come to death

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He spent a whopping two minutes and 10 seconds under water during his nail-biting act on the opening episode of the latest Britain’s Got Talent series.  

So it may come as little surprise that escapologist Matt Johnson admitted that his performance was the closest he’s been to death.

In a recent interview with The Sun, the contestant, 43, revealed: ‘I was underwater for longer than I’ve ever been before and obviously there’s a lot riding on it.’

Scary: Following his underwater act on Britain's Got Talent, it may come as little surprise that escapologist Matt Johnson admitted that his performance was the closest he's been to death

Scary: Following his underwater act on Britain's Got Talent, it may come as little surprise that escapologist Matt Johnson admitted that his performance was the closest he's been to death

Scary: Following his underwater act on Britain’s Got Talent, it may come as little surprise that escapologist Matt Johnson admitted that his performance was the closest he’s been to death

Viewers were left on the edge of their seats as Matt attempted to pick locks and find the right key among 20 while submerged in a tank of water.

Clearly experienced in his craft, the hopeful continued: ‘I spent two years trying to learn how to hold my breath and then take that into psychological situations where I’m really panicking.’ 

Despite risking his life with the dangerous act, Matt ironically confessed that he still has fears: ‘I don’t enjoy the thrill of petrifying myself. I’m scared of a lot of things. I’m scared of heights, I can’t go more than a couple of rungs on a ladder.’

Death-defying: In a recent interview with The Sun , the contestant, 43, revealed: 'I was underwater for longer than I¿ve ever been before and obviously there¿s a lot riding on it'

Death-defying: In a recent interview with The Sun , the contestant, 43, revealed: 'I was underwater for longer than I¿ve ever been before and obviously there¿s a lot riding on it'

Death-defying: In a recent interview with The Sun , the contestant, 43, revealed: ‘I was underwater for longer than I’ve ever been before and obviously there’s a lot riding on it’

His confession comes after the daredevil revealed his brother’s battle with a rare brain disease was the inspiration behind his terrifying routine.

On Monday’s edition of Lorraine, the contestant told the presenter that he performed his incredible act after seeing his brother suffer with a condition that causes him to have irregular seizures.

Speaking about his BGT audition, Matt told Lorraine he wanted to understand how his brother feels when suffering a seizure, as he suffers from tuberous sclerosis which causes calcium deposits on the brain. 

Terrifying: The daredevil has revealed his brother's battle with a rare brain disease was the inspiration behind his nail-biting routine on Monday's edition of Lorraine

Terrifying: The daredevil has revealed his brother's battle with a rare brain disease was the inspiration behind his nail-biting routine on Monday's edition of Lorraine

Terrifying: The daredevil has revealed his brother’s battle with a rare brain disease was the inspiration behind his nail-biting routine on Monday’s edition of Lorraine

He said: ‘He will go a day sometimes, sometimes a week, but you don’t know when he’s going to drop, so he can’t drive or work. 

‘Sometimes if he has two or three in a row, I wanted as a brother to understand what he goes through, and that’s how it started.’ 

Judges Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon watched a clock slowly tick round as Matt attempted the escape, eventually reaching two minutes before he broke out of the tank in triumph. 

Admitting that he only noticed the judges reactions after he broke out of the tank, Matt said: ‘That was very scary and that was the very first time I had seen Simon. 

‘I had no idea what was going on outside the tank. We’ve done it a lot and it’s gone wrong more times than it’s gone right.

‘It’s really hard doing that escape in that kind of venue and you want the heart rate to stay slow, but trying to keep it slow with the audience and the judges is near impossible. 

Ruthless: The Yorkshire-born contestant won four yeses from the judges following his triumphant audition, with paramedics on standby in case the audition went wrong

Ruthless: The Yorkshire-born contestant won four yeses from the judges following his triumphant audition, with paramedics on standby in case the audition went wrong

Ruthless: The Yorkshire-born contestant won four yeses from the judges following his triumphant audition, with paramedics on standby in case the audition went wrong

‘I remember thinking to myself ”What am i doing here this is nuts?”. 

The Yorkshire-born illusionist admitted he wanted his family to watch the audition live should something go drastically wrong. 

‘I had a conversation with my mum before I went on the show and she tried to talk me out of doing it,’ he said.

‘She felt under that pressure something was going to go very wrong.’

He added that the heart-stopping moment he finally escaped the tank was after almost 90 seconds of losing his breath.

Tough: Matt explained he wanted to understand the lack of control felt by his brother as he suffered from the brain disease

Tough: Matt explained he wanted to understand the lack of control felt by his brother as he suffered from the brain disease

Tough: Matt explained he wanted to understand the lack of control felt by his brother as he suffered from the brain disease

The performer – now based in Vancouver, Canada – said: ‘That’s genuine elation, after 45 secs my breath hold is gone, the next one minute 25 seconds was a fight, my chest was burning.

‘I’m trying to pick the lock but it’s always slightly different, I count [the time] in my head, but I’m always off by about 20 secs or 25 secs.

‘I only use my lock picking skills for good, since there’s a lot of aspects to this where you have to learn to pick locks, hold your breath.

‘I have to calm myself, and it goes against everything we humans do, the fight or flight situation.’

Strong: The Vancouver-based performer added that he didn't notice the judges reactions to his act until after he escaped the tank

Strong: The Vancouver-based performer added that he didn't notice the judges reactions to his act until after he escaped the tank

Strong: The Vancouver-based performer added that he didn’t notice the judges reactions to his act until after he escaped the tank

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