Britannia High

Saturday, 20 December 2008, 5:30PM – 6:35PM on ITV1

In typical Britannia High style, there’s as much fun and mayhem going on backstage as there is onstage, particularly for Lauren (Georgina Hagen) whose test results for MS have arrived. If Lauren does have MS, then this could be the last time she ever performs. As if that’s not enough for her to deal with, there’s also the matter of whether Danny (Mitch Hewer) will choose her over Claudine (Sapphire Elia).

Like most guys, Danny would rather have his cake and eat it, but there’s little chance of that with both ladies in his life piling on the pressure for him to choose between them. Elsewhere, Jez (Matthew James Thomas) is confronted by a blast from the past, while BB (Marcquelle Ward) faces up to a future without his family, and Lola (Rana Roy) receives the shock of her life, when Stefan (Adam Garcia) returns.

With incredible musical performances, amazing choreography and a roller-coaster ride of drama and comedy, the Britannia High series finale promises to be utterly unmissable.

Sunday, 14 December 2008, 7:00PM – 8:00PM on ITV1

The end of term show is coming up and everyone is in the throes of rehearsals. Canteen girl Ronnie (Sophie Powles) can see the hard work all the students are putting in and is desperate to join in. For months now, she has tried to be one of the gang, with varying success. Ronnie yearns to be one of the cool kids, but sometimes feels like she’s invisible.

After her help gets knocked back, Ronnie confides in Jez (Matthew James Thomas) – she auditioned for Britannia High but didn’t get in, so instead she took a job in the school canteen in the vain hope she would be noticed and offered a place. As she explains how she’s desperate to reapply next year, Jez is touched by her honesty and vows to help her get in and offers to assist with her audition piece.

When Jez sees Ronnie perform, however, he can see why she didn’t get in the school – she’s awful. Unable to break her heart by telling her the truth, he lies that she’s doing well. Ronnie is delighted and, full of confidence, decides to audition for the end of year show. Jez tries to dissuade her but stops short of telling her the truth and has to watch as Ronnie humiliates herself in front of the whole school at her audition.

Ronnie realises that Jez hasn’t been honest with her and angrily demands to know what he really thinks. Cornered, Jez is forced to reveal that she has no performance talent causing Ronnie to run off distraught. Jez feels terrible when he discovers Ronnie has decided to leave the school, he tries to stop her and follows her to the train station but is too late and arrives as the train is leaving. Gutted, he turns to head home, not seeing Ronnie sitting on the opposite platform in tears.

Later, Jez is sat at home feeling terrible, when there is a knock on the door. He’s surprised to see Ronnie standing there looking extremely positive. She’s decided not to go home, she may not be a performer but she’s going to make it in the business one way or another. Jez is delighted and as they hug he promises to be there for her, whatever she decides to do.

Sunday, 7 December 2008, 6:30PM – 7:30PM on ITV1

Lola (Rana Roy) is in love. The only problem is the object of her desire is dance mentor Stefan (Adam Garcia). Lola secretly fantasises about hot dates and passionate embraces with him. Her only confidante is her diary, where her teenage imagination knows no limits. Stefan, for his part, is completely innocent but has taken a shine to Lola and offers to give her some additional one to one dance coaching. Loved-up Lola can’t believe her luck.

As they work together, Lola and Stefan connect. Lola’s passion for dance reminds Stefan of himself at her age. When Stefan suggests they continue to chat about dance over a coffee, Lola is beside herself. Her fantasy is coming true – Stefan fancies her too.

Jez and BB catch Lola writing another diary entry. They, of course, can’t resist stealing her diary when she’s not looking. At first amused by the ramblings of loony Lola, their jaws hit the floor when they read about her relationship with Stefan. The boys confide in the others about Lola’s diary. Lauren defends Lola – they had no right to invade her privacy. Most are ready to dismiss the contents as Lola’s vivid imagination, but BB wonders if it actually might be true.

The gang watch Lola and Stefan closely. They follow them to the café where Lola and Stefan go for coffee. They see them chatting intimately, and when Stefan gives Lola a hug they put two and two together and make five.

Although they think it’s kind of cool to be dating a teacher, especially a hotty like Stefan, the friends decide to speak to Lola about it. Lola daren’t admit to her friends that it’s all in her head, so instead elaborates on what they’ve seen and read. A more mature BB is concerned, and decides to have it out with Stefan. When he hears what he’s being accused of, Stefan angrily confronts Lola, who breaks down and admits the truth.

Having calmed down, Stefan talks things through with a mortified Lola. He tells her not to feel foolish and, treating her with sensitivity, admits he’s flattered she thinks so highly of him. Lola wishes they could be together, and asks him if he weren’t her teacher whether he might fancy her a little bit. Stefan’s slightly flustered by the question, but Lola’s insistent and Stefan ends up admitting her does like her, but could never cross that line. Lola accepts what he’s saying and the two agree to put the incident behind them. Buoyed up by Stefan, Lola finds the courage to admit to her friends that she made the whole thing up. BB, for one, is hugely relieved.

Lola tries her best, but she can’t get Stefan out of her head. What’s worse is the fact that it’s now clear Stefan feels the same. Eventually, despite their best intentions, the two end up kissing briefly. Lola is on cloud nine, having finally won the man of her dreams. She’s soon devastated however when Stefan tells her that he is resigning his job. He’s appalled with himself for crossing a line, and knows he has to leave before things go any further. Lola is devastated to lose her first love so soon, but Stefan advises her that it’s for the best. Before he leaves, he asks Lola for one last dance – they may not be able to be together, but nobody can stop them dancing together.

New musical drama Britannia High is set to explode onto our television screens this autumn in a whirlwind of stunning dance, sensational music and unforgettable drama.

With original music composed by some of the biggest names in pop including Gary Barlow, Guy Chambers, Steve Mac, Mark Owen and Eliot Kennedy, Britannia High introduces six highly talented lead actors – Sapphire Elia, Georgina Hagen, Rana Roy, Mitch Hewer, Matthew James Thomas and Marcquelle Ward.

Created by acclaimed choreographer Arlene Phillips and theatre impresario David Ian and produced by the drama team in Manchester responsible for Coronation Street, Blue Murder and Mobile, the focus of Britannia High is a contemporary British performing arts school where the super-talented students study hard to achieve their dreams of stardom while learning important lessons about friendship, love and life. There’s also cameo appearances from some of the UK’s top recording artistes – Girls Aloud and Boyzone plus special guest appearances by Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas, ex-Busted and I’m A Celebrity winner, Matt Willis, EastEnders and Hollyoaks actress, Gemma Bissex and comedian Richard Blackwood.

Creative Director of Choreography for Britannia High Arlene Phillips and David Ian are Executive Producers working with the ITV Productions team led by Series Producer and Lead Director Brian Grant, Producer Gareth Philips and Executive Producers Kieran Roberts, Mark Wells and for Globe Productions Anita Land, that spent six months selecting the drama’s performers who sing, dance and act in the fictional performing arts school.

In conjunction with Globe Productions, the television arm of Universal Music, Britannia High will be ITV’s most ambitious 360 degree, multi platform show to date. Extra content is planned on ITV.com, ITV mobile, ITV Red Button, ITV interactive and social networking site Bebo. Fascination Records (part of the Universal Music Group) will release an album of tracks featured in the series on November 17th.

Prior to this a number of free downloads will be made available via, itv.com/britanniahigh.com, britanniahigh.com and also a partnership with iTunes and Bebo, starting with the Gary Barlow / Eliot Kennedy / Ina Wroldsen penned theme tune “Start Of Something” on September 29th.

And in an unprecedented step for an ITV1 drama, the first episode will be available a week before network transmission at the Britannia High website – www.itv.com/britanniahigh and www.britanniahigh.com

During eight hour-long episodes and the 75 minute spectacular finale, the drama series explores the lives of the students, Claudine, Lauren, Danny, Lola, Jez and BB, as they attempt to learn how to make their mark on the world. They’re striving to be the best they possibly can be in every discipline and, as in life, there’s plenty of heartache, turmoil, laughs and fun along the way. Supporting them throughout their trials and tribulations are Principal Nugent played by Mark Benton (The Street, City Lights), and dance mentor Stefan played by Adam Garcia (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Coyote Ugly). Lorraine Pilkington (Rough Diamond, Monarch of the Glen) also stars as music mentor Anna and Michele Austin (The Last Detective, The Bill) as eccentric landlady, Mrs Troy.

The extended finale episode will be the pinnacle of the storylines played out throughout the drama. It will also feature showcase performances from the cast, who will sing, dance and act their hearts out for a specially invited studio audience.

The Britannia High website will be the virtual home of the performing arts school, a place where fans can become involved with the ups and downs of life as a student, with exclusive episodes, blogs, photographs, e-newsletters and an online radio station presented by the two school DJs and featuring music by top Universal Artists.

Social network Bebo, www.bebo.com/britanniahigh, will be the place to delve deeper into the worlds of the characters, and at the touch of the Red Button – available through Sky Digital – viewers will be able to enjoy preview and catch up video, read character profiles, check out photo galleries and take part in dance tutorials.

Fans can also visit the official Britannia High mobile site for free highlight clips of all the best bits from the series, news and gossip, plus mobile downloads including exclusive show wallpapers and tones.

ITV Productions in conjunction with Globe Productions are to produce a unique musical drama that promises to be one of the television events of 2008, with music penned by Gary Barlow.

Britannia High will feature a group of super-talented young performers who sing, dance and act in a fictional performing arts school.

Viewers will be taken on a journey from the first real life casting process through to an eight part scripted drama series which will conclude with a spectacular live episode.

The Documentaries

Before the drama transmits, viewers will be given an insight into how the show is put together in two specially filmed 60 minute documentaries. These episodes will serve as an introduction to the drama itself, as viewers see how acclaimed Theatre Producer David Ian, Britannia High’s Director of Choreography Arlene Phillips, along with the Series Producer Brian Grant, and the production team select the young actors and actresses who are to be the stars of the show.

The documentary cameras also go behind the scenes to meet the writers who are creating the plotlines and shaping the characters of Britannia High. Viewers will also sneak into the recording studios where Gary Barlow teams up with some of the best song writers in the business as they compose the setpiece musical numbers. In addition, viewers will also have the chance to see choreographer Arlene Phillips in action, as she puts the young cast through their paces.

The Drama

We finally enter the world of Britannia High – a contemporary British performing arts school where students live by the motto Life Is Not A Rehearsal. Over eight hour-long episodes, we follow the lives of the group of ambitious, intelligent and charismatic pupils who are all bursting with talent and vying for centre stage in the school’s end-of-term showcase which will make up the spectacular live series finale. Each episode will be driven by the fictional scripted stories of life at Britannia High and will include original musical numbers performed by the cast, composed by Gary Barlow and his team of world renowned songwriters and choreographed by Arlene Phillips.

The Live Finale

Britannia High will climax with a 90-minute live episode, taking the form of an end-of-term Students’ Showcase, featuring performances from the cast, intertwined with drama segments that conclude the story and journey of the characters.

The Producers

Britannia High is a co-production between ITV Productions and Globe Productions, the television production arm of Universal Music.

The original idea for the series was devised by Arlene Phillips and David Ian. They are also Executive Producers.

The show was commissioned by Paul Jackson, ITV Director of Entertainment and Comedy and Michaela Hennessy-Vass ITV Commissioning Editor, Comedy.

The Co-Executive Producers are Kieran Roberts Controller of Drama ITV Manchester,

Mark Wells, Controller of Entertainment ITV Productions and Anita Land for Globe Productions.

The Series Producer and Lead Director is Brian Grant and the Head of Music is Chris Neil.

The Producer of the drama is Gareth Philips and the Documentary Producer is Sarah Woolley.

The Casting Director is Janie Frazer.

The Writers

The writers of the 8-part drama are: lead writer Tom MacRae, Damon Rochefort, Julie Jones, Harwant Bains, Kirstie Falkous and John Regier.

Paul Jackson said: ‘This is an exciting new format, not quite like anything else on British Television and we’re confident audiences are going to love it. ITV1 has lined up some of the biggest names in music and entertainment to make Britannia High. We hope to captivate viewers with the real and scripted stories of these talented young people going through the time of their lives, as they struggle to realise their dreams. For them this is most definitely not a rehearsal.’

Kieran Roberts comments: ‘Britannia High will be a brilliant, high quality British drama, with the added bonus of an innovative format integrating song and dance into the show. The preceding documentaries will follow the cast selection and drama production process, where we will find sparklingly talented new actors and base the drama around them.’

Mark Wells said: ‘This programme is a true hybrid of music, entertainment and drama. We’re delighted to have on board the exceptional talents of Gary Barlow, Arlene Phillips and David Ian, whose meticulously high standards will ensure the musical elements are spectacular.’

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