BBC Challenged Over Lloyd Webber Show

News   BBC Challenged Over Lloyd Webber Show The BBC has been accused of giving undue promotion to composer and impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The corporation is currently broadcasting "Any Dream Will Do," Lloyd Webber's latest reality television casting venture, which is seeking the title player for the forthcoming West End revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The series follows "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?," which discovered Connie Fisher for the Lloyd Webber-produced London production of The Sound of Music.

The Sunday Times reports that some London producers have written to Peter Fincham, controller of BBC 1, complaining his television show is "unfairly promoting" Lloyd Webber's productions.

The names of the producers have not been revealed.

There is also concern that three of the finalists are not talented amateurs, but professionals. Lee Mead appeared in Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera last year and played Pharaoh in Bill Kenwright's touring production of Joseph (Kenwright is one of the television show's panel of experts). Conservative MP John Whittingdale, who is also the chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee, has reportedly said he will raise the matter with the chairman of the newly formed BBC Trust which oversees the publicly funded corporation.

After Lloyd Webber finds his star, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will open at London's Adelphi Theatre on July 17 following previews from July 6.

Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice's (lyrics) musical follows the biblical tale of the title character who is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.

Joseph played on Broadway in 1982 with Bill Hutton as Joseph and Laurie Beechman as Narrator. It was then revived in 1993 with Michael Damian and Kelli Rabke in the roles.

In 1967 the show originally took the form of a 20-minute piece composed for Colet Court St. Paul's Junior School. The forthcoming West End version revives Steven Pimlott's London Palladium production, with design by Mark Thompson and choreography by Anthony Van Laast.

The production replaces Evita, another Rice/Lloyd-Webber musical, which finishes its run May 26.

The judging panel for "Any Dream Will Do" includes West End and Broadway star Denise Van Outen, producer Kenwright, stage actor John Barrowman and voice coach Zoe Tyler.

For more on Joseph, which is booking until Jan. 5, 2008, call (0)870 895 5598.