The Choir

ARTS CHANNEL – Mondays from 5 November, 9.15pm

Following the success of his first BAFTA Award-winning series, choirmaster Gareth Malone is about to face his greatest challenge yet: adolescent boys. Why don’t boys sing? Hormone-raging embarrassment? Choral isn’t cool? The influence of hip-hop? The lack of singing in assemblies? Gareth is not one to let sleeping dogs – or boys – lie. He’s going to Lancaster School, a boys only, sports-specialist school to see if he can get them singing and make real his dream of leading an all boys choir out on the stage at the Royal Albert Hall.

ARTS CHANNEL – Mondays from 15 October, 9.15pm

This BAFTA-award-winning series follows London Symphony Orchestra choirmaster Gareth Malone as he attempts to start a school choir from scratch and, in only nine months, make them capable of competing with the very best at the world choir games in China. The school Gareth chooses has no real tradition of music and no formal choir, and the kids have grown up listening to R&B and rap – worlds apart from his own classical upbringing. To begin with Gareth contends with bad behaviour, absenteeism and a general lack of belief but as the months pass by something near a miraculous transformation takes place.

UKTV – Wednesdays from 15 June, 7.30pm

For the third series of The Choir, Gareth Malone goes to a town called South Oxhey in Hertfordshire. South Oxhey has no tradition of singing, and little cultural activity – there is not even a cinema in the area. But Gareth makes it his mission to make South Oxhey a centre of true choral excellence.

Underbelly

Underbelly – Sunday 9:30pm TV3

“The true story of one of the bloodiest crime battles in Australian history and the most anticipated series of the year.”

Underbelly was banned in Victoria, where the story is based and was huge in Australia. It’s been called the Australian version of The Sopranos… but real. Read a detailed recap over on Throng Australia »

The Choir

The Choir – Friday 8:35pm TV ONE

A three-part series about a British choirmaster building a choir to compete in the World Choir Games in China. Seemed to be popular on the BBC in the UK thanks to choirmaster Gareth Malone and was compared to Sister Act II.

Friday 4 April

British choirmaster Gareth Malone is a man on a mission. He’s convinced that Britain’s schools are bursting with untapped singing talent and he’s determined to prove it.

Malone wants to build a choir in a school that’s never had one before, an everyday, suburban comprehensive high school. But there’s a catch – he wants his singers to be good enough to compete in the World Choir Games in China by the end of the school year.
This three-part series follows Malone through auditions, battles with poor attendance, lack of commitment, team-building sing-alongs around the school campfire, and some truly bad singing from the sixth form boys.

Despite the challenges, Malone didn’t need much persuading to take part in the series. “I’ve spent most of my working life in youth centres, schools, theatres and concert halls making music from nothing. So I jumped at the chance when the BBC asked me to create a choir in an ordinary secondary school, where music wasn’t a priority. I knew it was possible but I had some reservations. Would they want a choir? Would they respond to classical music? What would they make of me, coming from a privileged classical background? I knew that it could do wonders for those involved not just improve their singing and open their eyes to other musical possibilities, but also improve their confidence. I was nervous that I would fall flat on my face, though who wouldn’t be!”

He admits that he had to resort to drastic measures to get his choir singing. “At first the choir were terrified to make a sound. They would happily talk… but sing? No! Not above the sound made by a small kitten. A trip to London’s Barbican Centre was our first turning point because, when I put them on that vast stage to perform solos, what I’d previously seen as a bad attitude revealed itself as blind terror. One 15-year-old, Chloe Sullivan, had been so afraid of failing that she had almost stopped trying but, gradually, she and others began to open up.”

Will Malone be able to realise his dream of getting 30 kids to the performance of a lifetime? Find out in The Choir, tonight at 8.30pm on TV ONE.