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Edna In, Cameron Out of Oliver Judging???!

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We hope impresario Cameron Mackintosh isn’t feeling slighted. While producers David Ian and Bill Kenwright played active onscreen parts in How Do You Solve a Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do, the TV competitions to cast their revivals of The Sound of Music and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mackintosh has been left off the main judging panel of I’d Do Anything, this year’s reality offering to cast a new Mackintosh production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! (See News, 21 Dec 2007).

The BBC has said that the decision is part of a rethink of the programme format. Graham Norton will once again be hosting with Andrew Lloyd Webber back “in the throne” as the supreme judge with the power to save one contestant each week of the public vote, and performers John Barrowman and Denise Van Outen will also return to the panel. However, the co-producer slot on the team of judges is gone and vocal coach Zoe Tyler has also been dropped. They will be joined by Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna Everage.

A BBC spokesperson told The Stage newspaper: “For this series, the three panellists are performers, all of whom bring to the show a diverse range of experience across a wide variety of musical theatre roles. Cameron Mackintosh will be around to keep an eye on the progress of each of the contestants, and will join the panel for the semi-final and final.”

Open auditions took place in London and Manchester last month for I’d Do Anything, which is expected to air on BBC One this spring ahead of a summer/autumn West End opening for Oliver!. No venue or exact dates have yet been announced for the stage production.


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