BBC One Over The Rainbow Judging Panel Announced

Charlotte Church, John Partridge and Sheila Hancock to join Andrew Lloyd Webber in the search for Dorothy and Toto

A new line-up of judges will be helping Andrew Lloyd Webber and the nation to decide who will make the perfect Dorothy, in the forthcoming Over The Rainbow for BBC One.

Charlotte Church, John Partridge (Christian Clarke, EastEnders) and Sheila Hancock are to form the expert panel providing insightful opinions and comments but, ultimately, the viewers determine the rightful heir of those famous ruby red slippers.

Over The Rainbow will reunite host Graham Norton and Andrew Lloyd Webber who, along with the panel of experts and BBC One viewers, will choose a Dorothy to perform in the West End production next year.

The show will transmit in Spring 2010.

Andrew Lloyd Webber commented: “Each member of the panel brings something new and exciting which will take Over The Rainbow even further than the previous shows.

“We have a fantastic wealth of talent within our judges, and I know they’re going to be bringing some incredibly valuable expertise and opinions in our search for Dorothy.”

Charlotte Church added: “I’m so looking forward to working with Andrew – he’s an icon of the music industry, and a real hero of mine.

“My career started with Pie Jesu which was, of course, written by Andrew, so it feels like I’ve come full circle!”

John Partridge confirmed: “Musical theatre has always been my first love – it’s where I began my career – so I’m hugely excited to be joining the panel.

“I can’t wait to work with Andrew again and to see what talent the country has to offer. Dorothy is such an iconic role, for so many reasons!”

Star of stage and screen Sheila Hancock commented: “I’ve had such an interesting and varied career and I’m so looking forward to working with the panel and Andrew to seek out some fantastic new talent.

“I’m incredibly interested in TV series which really show the ins and outs of live theatre, and Over The Rainbow will do just that.

“The Wizard Of Oz has to be one of the most well-known and best-loved musicals, so it’s a real thrill to be involved in the process of updating it for new audiences.”

Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One, said: “It is hard to find a team of judges who can match Andrew Lloyd Webber in terms of enthusiasm, knowledge and a love of musical theatre but I think we have got them here – they are going to be a huge asset to the show.”

The search for Dorothy has already begun.

Auditions have taken place in five UK cities – Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester and London – and contestants are currently working their way through the ongoing audition process.

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