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Dawn French returns to pious performance with Superstar?

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Who better to choose the next Jesus than the Vicar of Dibley herself? Dawn French - who portrayed Dibley's lady vicar Geraldine Granger in Richard Curtis' BBC sitcom for 13 years - is in early discussions to judge Andrew Lloyd Webber's newest reality show, according to reports in the Sun newspaper.

According to the Sun, "Andrew Lloyd Webber is looking for the cream of British acting and showbiz stars for Superstar and Dawn has caught his eye. She is outspoken, someone who connects with ordinary people and has years and years of experience."

Due on ITV1 in July, the Sun also report that Superstar will feature many familiar reality casting show trappings, including a boot camp, but may only run as a two-week special, stripped over each night.

Perhaps best known as one half of comedy double act French and Saunders, Dawn French has also been seen on the West End, appearing as Bottom in Matthew Francis' 2001 staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Geraldine Aron's one-woman play My Brilliant Divorce.

French has not yet been confirmed, but could join the judging panel made up of Jason Donovan and former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm. Whatsonstage.com Award-winning actress Amanda Holden is also pegged to be on board to host the show having let that news slip whilst being interviewed on ITV's This Morning.

Superstar will see Lloyd Webber search for an actor to play Jesus in a stadium remounting of his 1971 Broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The production will debut at The O2 arena in London later this year and expected to tour before the end of 2012.


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