I'd Do Anything (BBC TV series)

I'd Do Anything
I'd Do Anything logo
Created by Bea Ballard
Presented by Graham Norton
Judges Andrew Lloyd Webber
John Barrowman
Denise Van Outen
Barry Humphries
Cameron Mackintosh
David Grindrod
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 22
Location(s) Fountain Studios
Running time 30–90mins
Production company(s) BBC
Original network BBC One, BBC HD
Picture format 16:9, 576i / 1080i HDTV
Original release 15 March (2008-03-15) – 31 May 2008 (2008-05-31)
Preceded by Any Dream Will Do (2007)
Followed by Over the Rainbow (2010)
External links

I'd Do Anything was a 2008 talent show-themed television series produced by the BBC in the United Kingdom and broadcast on BBC One.[1][2] It premièred on 15 March 2008.[3] The show searched for a new, unknown lead to play Nancy and three young performers who will take it in turns to play Oliver in a West End revival of the British musical Oliver!.[2]

The show, named after the Oliver! song "I'd Do Anything", was hosted by Graham Norton with Andrew Lloyd Webber again overseeing the programme,[4] together with theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh. In January 2008, John Barrowman confirmed he would be taking part in the show.[5] The BBC also confirmed in late February 2008 that Barry Humphries would join Barrowman and Denise Van Outen (who was previously the presenter of the US Broadway reality show Grease: You're the One that I Want!) on the judging panel of the show.[6][7]

Auditions for the show began in January 2008,[2] with the show airing on BBC One throughout March, April and May 2008.[8] In the final, on 31 May, Jodie Prenger was announced as the winner of the series.


Commissioned after the success of the two similar BBC series How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do, the series followed the same format to find a new unknown lead, but with two roles rather than one as in the previous two series. However, whilst the format for the Nancy was the same with the public choosing the winner, the three boys who will play the part of Oliver were chosen by the judging panel.[9]


Auditions took place in 2008; in Belfast on 24 January, Manchester on 26–27 January, London from 1 to 3 February and Glasgow on 6 February with auditions for both parts taking place at the same venues and dates.[8]


For the role of Nancy applicants needed to be aged 17 or over on 1 January 2008, with the playing age being 17-35. Entry was open to both amateur and professional performers. Stages one and two were the same as for the part of Oliver. At stage three though, the call-backs took place between 16 and 18 February when the show's panel interviewed the auditionees. There were then workshops and final audition performances between 21 and 26 February; and throughout mid-March, April and May for the television show.[8] The "Nancys" had to impress the panel in the first two shows and, from programme three, they also had to gain viewer support to stay in with a chance of winning the role of Nancy.[3]


For the role of Oliver applicants needed to be at least nine on 1 January 2008 and no older than 14 on 31 December 2008 with the part of Oliver being from nine to twelve years old.[8] The auditions were in two stages. Those who made it through to the second stage were filmed and then twelve young performers went through to stage three, the live television show where each week they learned a piece to perform on the show. Eight boys went through to the semi-final. Three boys were then chosen in the final stage, with one of the final three performing at the press night of Oliver![8] Following expert advice in providing a duty of care to child contributors, the BBC announced on 13 March that the boys would not face a public vote, and that each week the "Olivers" would be performing musical tasks, learning the tricks of the theatre trade and also perform as a group, before the judging panel make their final choices.[3][9]


The first programme, which aired on 15 March, charted the journeys of thousands of auditionees as they begin their quest for stardom in the regional auditions.[3]

For the role of Nancy, just over a hundred young women were called to London to perform before the panel, consisting of John Barrowman, Denise Van Outen and David Grindrod. Those who stood out then had the chance to win a place at Nancy School, the next stage in the competition. For the role of Oliver, fifty young boys were selected to work with musical theatre experts before the final twelve were chosen for the live shows by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh.[3]

The second programme, which aired on 22 March, focussed mainly on the 42 women at Nancy School and the procedure of finding the final twelve women to compete in the weekly live show for the part of Nancy. The twelve boys who will compete on the live show for the part of Oliver were also introduced throughout the programme.

Weekly format

Saturday - Live

The show opens with a group number by the Nancys and Olivers. Each Nancy then performs a song, with feedback provided by the panel and Lloyd Webber. The public votes for the contestant they wish to keep in the show. Voting closes shortly after the broadcast of the Saturday programme.

Footage of the Olivers' progress is shown, during which Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh select one to proceed through to the semi-final.

Sunday - Recorded after live show on Saturdays.

The Oliver who was announced as a semi-finalist takes the lead with the other Olivers in a song. After the results of the public vote have been processed, the two Nancys with the least number of votes enter a "sing-off". Lloyd Webber then chooses which Nancy from the "sing-off" to save each week. The eliminated Nancy takes the lead in their sing-out medley of "Be Back Soon" and "As Long as He Needs Me".



Twelve potential Nancys made it through the audition rounds and performed during the live shows.[10][11] Each Nancy wore a unique coloured dress and a locket. At the end of every live show, the losing Nancy would have the locket stripped off by the Nancy who survived the singoff. In the final, on 31 May 2008, Jodie Prenger was announced as the winner.

Finalist Age * From Dress Colour Status
Amy Booth-Steel[12] 24 Birmingham Lime Green Eliminated 1st in week 1
Cleopatra "Cleo" Royer[13] 22 London Lilac Eliminated 2nd in week 2
Tara Bethan[14][15] 24 Clwyd Orange Eliminated 3rd in week 3
Francesca Jackson[15][16] 24 West Glamorgan Baby Pink Eliminated 4th in week 4
Keisha Amponsa-Banson[17] 23 London Gold Eliminated 5th in week 5
Sarah Lark [15][18] 25 Glamorgan Pale Green Eliminated 6th in week 6
Ashley J Russell [19] 24 Falkirk Dark Blue Eliminated 7th in week 7
Niamh Perry[20] 17 Bangor, Northern Ireland Pink Eliminated 8th in week 8
Rachel Tucker[21] 26 Belfast Yellow Eliminated 9th in week 9
Samantha Barks[22] 17 Laxey, Isle of Man Blue Eliminated 10th in week 10
Jessie Buckley[23] 18 Killarney, Ireland Dark Green Runner-up
Jodie Prenger[24][25] 28 Blackpool Purple Winner

* as of the start of the series


Twelve potential Olivers made it through the audition rounds and performed in the live shows.[26][27] Each Oliver was identified with a different coloured scarf, and during the first eight live shows, the Oliver who did best in the mission for that week made it through to the final eight. This Oliver would also receive a hat, and lead vocals in a performance with all the Olivers on the live show. Ultimately, Gwion Jones, Harry Stott and Laurence Jeffcoate were announced as the three winning Olivers in week nine on 24 May.[28][29]

Finalist Age * From Scarf Colour Lead Vocal Reached Result
Gareth Borrow 12 Derry Pink N/A Final 12 Eliminated in Week 8
Jordan Li-Smith 13 Wrexham Red N/A Final 12 Eliminated in Week 8
Joseph McNamara 9 Berkshire Yellow N/A Final 12 Eliminated in Week 8
Sam Cotton 10 Hampshire Dark Blue N/A Final 12 Eliminated in Week 8
Chester McKee 12 London Dark Red Week 2 Final 8 Eliminated in Week 9
Arthur Byrne 10 Bristol Purple Week 3 Final 8 Eliminated in Week 9
Kwayedza Kureya 13 Kent Light Blue Week 4 Final 8 Eliminated in Week 9
Alexander Hockaday 11 London Dark Orange Week 5 Final 8 Eliminated in Week 9
Jonny Clowes 13 Leamington Spa Dark Green Week 8 Final 8 Eliminated in Week 9
Gwion Jones 11 Carmarthenshire Light Green Week 1 Top 3 Winner
Harry Stott 12 Oxfordshire Orange Week 6 Top 3 Winner
Laurence Jeffcoate 11 Cheshire Beige Week 7 Top 3 Winner

Results summary

Colour key
     Contestant was in the bottom two and who was saved after the sing off
     Contestant was eliminated after the sing off
     Contestant who received the most public votes
Weekly results per contestant
Contestant Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Quarter Final Semi Final Final
Jodie Prenger Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Winner
(week 10)
Jessie Buckley Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Runner-up
(week 10)
Samantha Barks Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Bottom two Eliminated
(week 10)
Rachel Tucker Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Bottom two Safe Bottom two Eliminated Eliminated
(week 9)
Niamh Perry Safe Safe Safe Safe Bottom two Safe Bottom two Eliminated Eliminated
(week 8)
Ashley J Russell Safe Safe Safe Bottom two Safe Safe Eliminated Eliminated
(week 7)
Sarah Lark Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe Eliminated Eliminated
(week 6)
Keisha Amponsa-Banson Safe Bottom two Bottom two Safe Eliminated Eliminated
(week 5)
Francesca Jackson Bottom two Safe Safe Eliminated Eliminated
(week 4)
Tara Bethan Safe Safe Eliminated Eliminated
(week 3)
Cleo Royer Safe Eliminated Eliminated
(week 2)
Amy Booth-Steel Eliminated Eliminated
(week 1)

Live shows

Week 1 (29/30 March)

Gwion Jones was announced as the first Oliver semi-finalist on the Saturday show.

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the first live show
Act Order Song Result
Jessie Buckley 1 "River Deep - Mountain High" Safe
Jodie Prenger 2 "Chasing Pavements" Safe
Tara Bethan 3 "Suddenly I See" Safe
Ashley J Russell 4 "Black Velvet" Safe
Amy Booth-Steel 5 "Respect" Eliminated
Keisha Amponsa-Banson 6 "Mad About the Boy" Safe
Francesca Jackson 7 "Hero" Safe
Rachel Tucker 8 "About You Now" Safe
Samantha Barks 9 "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" Safe
Sarah Lark 10 "Get Here" Safe
Cleo Royer 11 "Who Knew" Safe
Niamh Perry 12 "The First Cut Is the Deepest" Safe

Week 2 (5/6 April)

Chester McKee was announced as the second Oliver semi-finalist on the Saturday show.[32]

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the second live show
Act Order Song Result
Niamh Perry 1 "I've Got the Music in Me" Safe
Cleo Royer 2 "Feeling Good" Eliminated
Keisha Amponsa-Banson 3 "Get the Party Started" Bottom 2
Samantha Barks 4 "See the Day" Safe
Francesca Jackson 5 "Somebody to Love" Safe
Rachel Tucker 6 "Beautiful" Safe
Sarah Lark 7 "Piece of My Heart" Safe
Tara Bethan 8 "Without You" Safe
Jodie Prenger 9 "I'm Every Woman" Safe
Ashley J Russell 10 "Mercy" Safe
Jessie Buckley 11 "Killing Me Softly with His Song" Safe

Week 3 (12/13 April)

Arthur Byrne was announced as the third Oliver semi-finalist on the Saturday show.

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the third live show
Act Order Song Result
Rachel Tucker 1 "Oh, What a Night" Safe
Sarah Lark 2 "Maybe This Time" Safe
Francesca Jackson 3 "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" Safe
Keisha Amponsa-Banson 4 "The Lady Is a Tramp" Bottom 2
Ashley J Russell 5 "The Winner Takes It All" Safe
Jodie Prenger 6 "Send in the Clowns" Safe
Niamh Perry 7 "Moon River" Safe
Jessie Buckley 8 "One Night Only" Safe
Tara Bethan 9 "Let's Hear It for the Boy" Eliminated
Samantha Barks 10 "Somewhere" Safe

Week 4 (19/20 April)

Kwayedza Kureya was announced as the fourth Oliver semi-finalist on the Saturday show.

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the fourth live show
Act Order Song Result
Jodie Prenger 1 "9 to 5" Safe
Samantha Barks 2 "Hurt" Safe
Ashley J Russell 3 "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" Bottom 2
Niamh Perry 4 "Wind Beneath My Wings" Safe
Keisha Amponsa-Banson 5 "My Heart Will Go On" Safe
Jessie Buckley 6 "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" Safe
Sarah Lark 7 "Midnight Train to Georgia" Safe
Francesca Jackson 8 "What's Love Got to Do with It" Eliminated
Rachel Tucker 9 "The Way We Were" Safe

Week 5 (26/27 April)

Alexander Hockaday was announced as the fifth Oliver semi-finalist on the Saturday show.

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the fifth live show
Act Order Song Result
Niamh Perry 1 "Valerie" Bottom 2
Rachel Tucker 2 "I'm with You" Safe
Jessie Buckley 3 "Stop!" Safe
Sarah Lark 4 "Ironic" Safe
Keisha Amponsa-Banson 5 "I'm Outta Love" Eliminated
Ashley J Russell 6 "Evergreen" Safe
Samantha Barks 7 "Since U Been Gone" Safe
Jodie Prenger 8 "I Have Nothing" Safe

Week 6 (3/4 May)

Harry Stott was announced as the sixth Oliver semi-finalist on the Saturday show. The Olivers voted to choose one Nancy to perform with them on the Results Show and chose Sarah. Andrew Lloyd Webber worked with each of the Nancys in the week before the show to improve their performance, focusing on their acting abilities. He also gave each Nancy a "master class" to learn the sing-off song.

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the sixth live show
Act Order Song Result
Jodie Prenger 1 "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls" Safe
Sarah Lark 2 "Mr. Bojangles" Eliminated
Rachel Tucker 3 "For Once in My Life" Bottom 2
Samantha Barks 4 "Sway" Safe
Niamh Perry 5 "They Can't Take That Away from Me" Safe
Jessie Buckley 6 "The Man that Got Away" Safe
Ashley J Russell 7 "Big Spender" Safe

Week 7 (10/11 May)

Laurence Jeffcoate was announced as the seventh Oliver semi-finalist on the Saturday show. The Olivers voted to choose one Nancy to perform with them on the Results Show and chose Niamh. During the week Lloyd Webber took the Nancys to the O2 Arena to see Celine Dion in concert.

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the seventh live show
Act Order Song Result
Jessie Buckley 1 "Fighter" Safe
Niamh Perry 2 "True Colours" Bottom 2
Ashley J Russell 3 "I Say a Little Prayer" Eliminated
Samantha Barks 4 "Survivor" Safe
Jodie Prenger 5 "If I Ain't Got You" Safe
Rachel Tucker 6 "You've Got a Friend" Safe

Week 8 (17/18 May)

Week eight was the quarter-final stage of the series. Jonny Clowes was announced as the eighth and last Oliver semi-finalist on the Saturday show with Gareth Borrow, Jordan Li-Smith, Joseph McNamara and Sam Cotton leaving after the Saturday show.

The Nancys were joined by five of the finalists from Any Dream Will Do - Daniel Boys, Lewis Bradley, Ben James-Ellis, Keith Jack and Rob McVeigh to perform a group number. They were paired up: Rachel and Daniel; Jodie and Lewis; Jessie and Rob; Samantha and Ben; Niamh and Keith.

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the eighth live show
Act Order Song Result
Jodie Prenger 1 "Holding Out for a Hero" Safe
Rachel Tucker 2 "I Will Always Love You" Bottom 2
Samantha Barks 3 "Defying Gravity" Safe
Jessie Buckley 4 "How Do I Live" Safe
Niamh Perry 5 "Don't Speak" Eliminated

Week 9 (24/25 May)

Week nine was the semi-final stage of the series. On 23 May the BBC announced that Cameron Mackintosh would be joining the panel for the semi-final to give his opinion on the four remaining Nancys and to announce, with Lloyd Webber, which three boys they chose as Oliver and that he would also be on the panel for the Grand-final.[39] The four Nancys also appeared on The Paul O'Grady Show on Channel 4 singing "Oom-Pah-Pah".[40]

Gwion Jones, Harry Stott and Laurence Jeffcoate were announced as the three winning Olivers on the Saturday show with Lloyd Webber saying, "Cameron and I agree we have three very different Olivers, but I think it's a great result and I think whichever Oliver you go and see you're going to get a fantastic performance." And Mackintosh adding, "The talent we have unearthed has been terrific."[28]

Cameron Mackintosh confirmed that Rowan Atkinson will be performing the part of Fagin in the stage show. The four remaining Nancys were divided into pairs, The Northern Nancys and the Celtic Nancys for two group performances.

The show performances and missions were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the ninth live show
Act Order Song Result
Rachel Tucker 1 "Cabaret" Eliminated
Jessie Buckley 2 "What I Did for Love" Safe
Samantha Barks 3 "When You Believe" Bottom 2
Jodie Prenger 4 "Out Here on My Own" Safe

In the week following the show, it was claimed that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh had fallen out over Lloyd Webber's decision to eliminate Rachel Tucker who Mackintosh had wanted to see in the final. Lloyd Webber said, "The fact is Cameron wanted Rachel to stay. He wanted Rachel and Samantha in the final from the beginning of the series. Rachel did a fantastic performance but I had to face up to the fact that she wouldn't have gone any further. What I may think professionally is sometimes different from what the public want. I saved Rachel three times and she still ended up in the bottom two."[42]

In the week the semi-final aired, the four semi-finalists did a photoshoot for Now magazine recreating some of Madonna's iconic images. Jodie posed in a wedding dress to recreate the cover of the album Like a Virgin; Jessie copied a pose, wearing a black dress, from the music video for the song Like a Prayer, Samantha was dressed in hotpants copying the pose from the cover of the 2008 album, Hard Candy and Rachel posed in a cowboy hat, recreating the cover of the album Music.[43]

Week 10 (31 May)

Week ten was the final week of the show and the Grand-final when the winning Nancy was revealed. Both shows aired live on Saturday with the main show starting at 6:00pm and the Results show at 8:45pm. The finalists were Jessie Buckley, Jodie Prenger and Samantha Barks.

On 30 May, Andrew Lloyd Webber revealed that Cameron Mackintosh was concerned about Jodie Prenger's "curvaceous figure" saying, "Cameron thinks she is a bit too big and has more or less said so". However, Webber defended Prenger, saying that she had both the vocal talents and personality for the role, saying "Jodie could be anybody's idea of Nancy - I can see it absolutely. She has got a lovely voice and a super personality. She has experience as well."[44]

Also on 30 May, the BBC announced how voting would work in the final. With all the decisions now being from the public vote, the voting lines opened at the start of Show One. At the end of Show One, the finalist with the lowest number of viewers votes, Samantha was eliminated and therefore finished third. The voting lines then re-opened to vote for the series winner, with all the votes cast for the remaining two Nancys carried over. Then in Show Two the final two Nancys went head-to-head before the winner was announced as Jodie.[45]

The three finalists were taken to Paris in the week leading up to the show. In London they met and had a "Master Class" with Liza Minnelli. All twelve Nancy finalists and all twelve Oliver finalists also performed. Lee Mead also performed on Show One. In Show two both Jessie and Jodie performed Nancy's love ballad "As Long as He Needs Me".

The show performances were:[30]

Contestants' performances on the tenth live show part 1
Act Order Song Result
Jodie Prenger 1 "Son of a Preacher Man" Safe
Samantha Barks 2 "Anyone Who Had a Heart" Eliminated[46]
Jessie Buckley 3 "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" Safe
Contestants' performances on the tenth live show part 2
Act Order Song Order Song Result
Jodie Prenger 1 "As Long as He Needs Me" 3 "I Have Nothing" Winner
Jessie Buckley 2 "As Long as He Needs Me" 4 "The Man That Got Away" Runner-Up

The final vote was then announced and it was revealed that the winner was Jodie Prenger with Andrew Lloyd Webber saying, "The people's Nancy. Jodie was always going to be the people's choice." Cameron Mackintosh added, 'I'm thrilled for Jodie, congratulations!'[47]


In March 2008, the BBC drew criticism from American actor, Kevin Spacey, the artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre Company for airing shows such as I'd Do Anything and Any Dream Will Do which he claimed were distorting the theatre market in favour of musicals instead of straight plays.[48] Spacey said, "I felt that was essentially a 13-week promotion for a musical - where's our 13-week programme?" and that he thought the BBC's talent shows were "crossing the line" and "unfair". The BBC responded that it "always reflected" other West End shows in its talent programmes. Adding that the shows were not unduly promotional and that the shows "celebrate musical theatre generally, not just one West End show". They also pointed out that the BBC had no commercial interest in the West End productions of Oliver!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or The Sound Of Music.[49]

Spacey's comments were criticised by Simon Cowell who stated, "It sounds like Russia in the Sixties, that mentality. I don't think that applies to the modern world. What the BBC does is very good for the West End because it reminds millions of people what the West End is all about – they're going to sell a lot of tickets off the back of that." [48]

On 19 April it was revealed that Spacey had apologised to Andrew Lloyd Webber for his comments.[50]

On 31 May 2008 it was revealed that the show regularly received over 6 million viewers.[51] The first programme of the series which aired on 15 March, before the first live shows two weeks later, was watched by 5.5 million viewers, 24.2% of the total audience, in what the Entertainment and Media website Digital Spy described as "a weak debut".[52]

After the week five shows it was revealed that the Saturday show was watched by 5.6 million viewers, 27% of the total audience, which although 0.5 million down on the previous week, was still 200,000 above the slot average. This was slightly ahead of the third episode of All Star Mr & Mrs, on ITV1 which had 5.2 million viewers (25.2%).[42]

The final shows on 31 May were shown on the same night as the finals of the second series of Britain's Got Talent on ITV1 although the shows did not clash directly apart from a short period toward the end of Show one of I'd Do Anything. The total number of viewers for both shows was given as 20 million.[51]

Format future

In September 2008, Lloyd Webber announced that he would not be returning to the BBC in 2009 for another series as he wished to concentrate his efforts on his latest musical. He would, however, be returning to BBC screens in 2010 with a brand new search to find a new Dorothy for The Wizard of Oz, to which his company, The Really Useful Group, recently acquired the rights.[53]


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