BBC1 Launches Oliver! Reality Casting Series, "I'd Do Anything!," March 15

News   BBC1 Launches Oliver! Reality Casting Series, "I'd Do Anything!," March 15 On March 15 BBC1 launches "I'd Do Anything!," a new weekly Saturday night primetime reality TV show that seeks to find new talent for the roles of Nancy and three young boys to share the title role in Lionel Bart's beloved musical Oliver!, which will open in the West End later this year.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber Photo by Aubrey Reuben

It is expected that the production will open at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, following the announcement that its current tenant, The Lord of the Rings, will close July 19.

"I'd Do Anything!" follows the success of two previous BBC1 casting series, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" in 2006, which found Connie Fisher to star in the current London Palladium revival of The Sound of Music; and "Any Dream Will Do" in 2007, which found Lee Mead to star in the current Adelphi Theatre revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

As with both of those shows, Graham Norton hosts the weekly TV program, joined by Andrew Lloyd Webber as a judge alongside West End leading man and "Torchwood" TV star John Barrowman, West End and Broadway leading lady Denise van Outen and Barry Humphries, best known as his alter ego Dame Edna but who also appeared in the original 1960 production of Oliver! as Mr. Sowerberry. Humphries also played Fagin in subsequent revivals of Oliver! in 1967 at the Piccadilly Theatre and in the early nineties at the London Palladium.

Lloyd Webber previously commented, "The role of Nancy is such an exciting one to cast. Nancy is a girl of the street and yet she has a heart of gold underneath it all. We're looking for a girl who really is a rough diamond. The search for our Olivers will be very different. Don't think of Oliver as a little drippy Victorian doll of a boy. He has to have a very special quality – real grit – after all, he has to hold his own around the rough streets of London. He's got to have a character of steel who can convey what the depths of Victorian life were like for these kids."

After an open call at regional auditions, 100 girls were selected to go forward to be considered as candidates for Nancy, from which 40 have been chosen for the program. Fifty boys ages 9-14 have been selected to perform for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, under whose auspices the stage version is being produced, and from which 12 candidates will be selected to go forward for public elimination in the live TV shows. Booking has not yet opened for the West End production. The TV program airs on Saturday evenings on BBC1 at 7:30 PM.