7/101 Votes Alchetron7
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 1
First episode date 26 March 2010
Presented by Graham Norton
Directed by Simon Staffurth
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 18
Final episode date 22 May 2010
Networks BBC One, BBC HD
|Cast Stephanie Davis, Graham Norton|
Judges Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charlotte Church, John Partridge, Sheila Hancock
Similar I'd Do Anything, How Do You Solve a Proble, Any Dream Will Do, Let's Sing and Dance, John Bishop's Britain
Over the rainbow 01
Over the Rainbow was a British television talent series that aired on BBC One from 26 March to 22 May 2010. It documented the search for a new, undiscovered musical theatre performer to play the role of Dorothy Gale in Andrew Lloyd Webber's 2011 stage production of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and a dog to play Toto for a one-off performance. Produced by Talkback Thames for the BBC, the series was presented by Graham Norton. It followed previous collaborations between the BBC and Lloyd Webber to find new musical theatre performers: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I'd Do Anything. The series was named after the song "Over the Rainbow" and was also aired by TV3 in Ireland.
- Over the rainbow 01
- Over the rainbow week 1 opening song
- Live finals
- Results summary
- Auditions: Top 20 selection
- Auditions: Top 10 selection
- Week 1 (3/4 April)
- Week 2 (10/11 April)
- Week 3 (17/18 April)
- Week 4 (24/25 April)
- Week 5 (1/2 May)
- Week 6 (8/9 May)
- Week 7 (15/16 May)
- Week 8 (22 May)
- Doctor Who controversy
Over the rainbow week 1 opening song
Following the end of I'd Do Anything in 2008, Lloyd Webber announced he would not work on another talent show in 2009, so that he could work on the musical Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, but that he would, however, return in 2010 to find a performer to play Dorothy Gale for a production of The Wizard of Oz. In July 2009, it was reported that the 2010 series had been dropped and would not take place until at least 2011, so that Lloyd Webber would not be criticised for promoting Love Never Dies, and that the series would be taken to commercial broadcaster ITV. Lloyd Webber later said that it was a scheduling clash solved by moving the series to later in the year.
The BBC announced the commission of the series in September 2009 with the title The Wizard of Oz; it would search for a performer, cast by the public, to play Dorothy and a dog to play Toto. Following the announcement, Lloyd Webber told The Daily Telegraph:
A big sticking point for me, this was. This is what the BBC wanted and I had to point out to them that as a cat man, this was not something that I was very happy about at all. The whole thing fills me with extreme concern. I might insist on having a cat on the programme, because I think the BBC as a public service broadcaster have got to give equal time in my view to cats.
At the show's Glasgow auditions, he spoke to The Scottish Sun about comparisons with past series, saying:
This is the most difficult show I've had to cast. Joseph, Oliver and Maria all come from established theatre productions which are huge hits. The Wizard of Oz has been done before, but it's never worked properly because they've tried to recreate the movie too closely. I'm essentially writing a whole new musical with some of the greatest songs ever written and composing completely new music for it.
A panel of judges assessed the contestants during the series. They were:
The Daily Mail reported in February 2009 that Lloyd Webber had asked Liza Minnelli, daughter of Judy Garland, to be one of the judges. The Daily Mail also reported that, following the announcement of the judging panel, Denise van Outen, a judge during previous series, had been dropped due to her pregnancy, however this was denied by the BBC. John Barrowman, also a judge for previous series, wanted to judge on the series and he says the BBC wanted him to do it. However, he was already planning to star in American series Desperate Housewives when Talkback Thames asked him, and he turned down the offer.
Applications for the series were solicited in November 2009 and auditions took place in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and London from January 2010. Speaking to The Scottish Sun at the Glasgow auditions, Lloyd Webber said: "I don't want to go for a Dorothy who's all peaches and cream. Anyone like Avril Lavigne or a bit like Amy Winehouse or something along those lines would be great."
110 auditionees were invited to the callbacks at the Hackney Empire in London, where they performed in front of Hancock, Partridge and casting director David Grindrod. The group was then narrowed down to 50, and later increased to 54 when four eliminated contestants (including Jessica Robinson and Stephanie Fearon) were brought back into the competition. The final 54 were invited to attend 'Dorothy Farm', where they received vocal, choreography and acting classes before performing in front of Church, Partridge and Hancock. The panel then selected 20 girls to move on to the final round of auditions.
The top 20 performed in front of Lloyd Webber and the panel in a live show for a place in the final 10. The panel selected the final 10, with the public selecting one of the 10 contestants not chosen by the panel (Emilie Fleming) as the wildcard and eleventh finalist.
The final eleven contestants competed in the live studio finals each Saturday from 3 April, with the results being announced in a pre-recorded results show on Sunday. Each week the contestants performed, receiving comments from the judges following their performance. The public would then get the chance to vote for their favourite Dorothy, and the two Dorothys with the fewest votes performed in a sing-off in front of Lloyd Webber during the results show. He would then decide which potential Dorothy to keep in the contest. To end the programme, the surviving Dorothys sang "We Thank You Very Sweetly", a verse from "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead", while the leaving Dorothy handed her shoes to the saved Dorothy, who gave them to Lloyd Webber. The eliminated Dorothy would then lead a performance of "Over the Rainbow" whilst carried on a crescent moon across the stage.
The live shows took place in the Fountain Studios in London. Profits from viewer votes went to the BBC Performing Arts Fund.
The series searched for a dog to play Toto for a one-off performance. The search was led by Jodie Prenger, winner of I'd Do Anything, along with dog trainer Gerry Cott and animal behaviour expert Sarah Fisher. The final 5 dogs were revealed on Sunday, 25 April.
*at start of series
Twenty contestants made it through the first audition rounds and performed in the first live show. Ten of them were selected as finalists by the judging panel, while Emilie Fleming was selected as the wildcard and eleventh contestant following the public vote after the final audition round. Each finalist wore a unique coloured dress and Silver slippers with bows on them which matched the dress. At the end of every live show, the losing Dorothy would have her shoes stripped by the Dorothy who survived the sing-off, and the shoes would be given to Lloyd Webber. The winner of the series, Danielle Hope, claimed a pair of ruby slippers as her prize, as well as the starring role. Sophie Evans, the runner-up of the series, would later become the alternate Dorothy.
*at start of series
Auditions: Top 20 selection
The series started on Friday, 26 March, and the first programme followed the open auditions, call-backs and the contestants at 'Dorothy Farm', concluding with the selection of the top 20.
Auditions: Top 10 selection
Aired on Saturday, 27 March, the second episode saw the top 20 contestants perform in front of the panel to secure a place in the top 10. In groups of four, they performed a pop song and a musical song, coached by a West End performer. The show performances were:
After the panel chose Amy, Bronte, Dani, Danielle, Jenny, Jessica, Lauren, Sophie, Steph and Stephanie to be in their top 10, Camille, Claire Ha., Claire Hi., Emilie, Emma, Katie, Philippa, Sarah, Tasheka and Tegan performed "Over the Rainbow" to be chosen as the wildcard and eleventh contestant in the live finals.
Week 1 (3/4 April)
The first of the live finals on Saturday, 3 April saw the 11 finalists perform to stay in the competition. Emilie was announced as the wildcard contestant following the vote at the end of the previous programme. The girls' mission this week was to work on a farm, and they were judged by Countryfile's Adam Henson. He selected Bronte to win the mission; her prize was an extra performance during the results programme and she chose Amy, Emilie and Jessica to join her.
Week 2 (10/11 April)
The second live show on Saturday, 10 April saw the remaining 10 finalists perform to stay in the competition. The contestants worked with Hancock during the week, and their mission was to perform, in front of Hancock, the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow. Also, the search for a dog to play Toto saw the top 50 selected from the open auditions.
Week 3 (17/18 April)
The third week of competition was dance week and the live show on Saturday 17 April 2010 saw the remaining nine finalists perform to stay in the competition. The contestants worked with John Partridge during the week, learning how to walk and perform in heels before performing with him in front of Lloyd Webber and choreographer Arlene Phillips. The search continued for a dog to play Toto narrowing it down to the Top 10.
Week 4 (24/25 April)
The fourth live show on Saturday 24 April 2010 saw the remaining eight finalists perform to stay in the competition. Following a one-on-one session with Charlotte Church, the mission this week was learning to perform "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)". In the search for a dog to play Toto, the final 10 auditioned in front of the Toto panel and Lloyd Webber and the final 5 were chosen.
Week 5 (1/2 May)
The fifth week of competition was big band week and the live show on Saturday 1 May 2010 saw the remaining seven finalists perform to stay in the competition. Lloyd Webber worked with the contestants this week, and their mission (excluding Jessica who was ill) was to walk through a dark forest alone where they face a choice of going Home or going to Oz. This week also saw the first task for the dogs vying to play Toto. After a master class, they performed a scene from Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre and the judges chose Missy as the task winner.
Week 6 (8/9 May)
The sixth week and quarter-final stage of the competition, with the live show on Saturday 8 May 2010, saw the remaining six contestants perform musical theatre songs for four places in the semi-final. This week, the task for the Toto contestants was to see how they would get on with the potential Dorothys at the Richmond Theatre. The dogs chose the Dorothy they wished to perform with, and with six Dorothys and only five dogs, Lauren was not chosen. The pairs performed in front of the Toto panel and an audience of children; the panel chose Spider as their 'top dog' and the audience chose Dave. Also this week, the contestants went to the opening night of Sweet Charity and met Tamzin Outhwaite backstage; during the results show Outhwaite performed "If My Friends Could See Me Now" from the musical.
Week 7 (15/16 May)
The seventh week of competition was the semi-final stage of the series. On 15 May 2010 the four remaining contestants sang live for a place in the final. The final task for the Toto contestants was to pull back a curtain to reveal the Wizard (Lloyd Webber); he chose Troy as his task winner, and the panel chose Eddie. Sierra Boggess visited the contestants during rehearsals, and she performed "Love Never Dies" from Love Never Dies during the results show.
Week 8 (22 May)
In the Run-up to the final, the three remaining contestants visited Lloyd Webber's estate. There, their mission was to perform a scene and sing "Over the Rainbow". Also during the week, the eight eliminated contestants went to see Hancock in Sister Act and met her and some of the cast (including Amy Booth-Steel, an I'd Do Anything finalist) backstage.
The two audition episodes attracted 4.28 million (18.4% audience share) and 5.22 million viewers (23.9% share) according to unofficial overnight figures. The first live show attracted 5.417 million viewers (25.4% share).
All ratings are taken from the UK Programme Ratings website, BARB.
Doctor Who controversy
The series attracted a different kind of media interest when an animated banner advertisement, also known as a "trail", depicting an animated Graham Norton dancing alongside the title of the series, aired during the climactic cliffhanger of the 24 April 2010 broadcast of the Doctor Who episode, "The Time of Angels". The BBC apologised after receiving over 5,000 complaints. Norton himself went on to parody the incident in his own show by placing a similar banner at the bottom of the screen and having a Dalek exterminate his own cartoon caricature.