Wednesday, 2 April 2008

I'd Do Anything!

I’d Do Anything is a line normally used by people who want to get something or achieve something but I am not talking about that in this weeks blog. Of course I am referring to it as the line from Oliver and the title of the new BBC Saturday night talent search programme which if you live in the UK you will have probably heard something about or seen some of the shows.

The series is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s third attempt to find a star of his latest musical production after two successful runs finding talent for The Sound of Music and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. This time he is looking for people to fill the two roles of Oliver and Nancy in Oliver The Musical. This series is different to previous years as they are looking to fill two roles instead of one but the big twist this year is that the competition for the first time has been opened up to children in order to fill the role of Oliver.

Last year X-Factor lowered their minimum age to 14 to audition and now with this series it raises the question of should young children be allowed to participate in TV talent programmes? I know this isn’t the first time children have been allowed on talent shows as many years ago it was common place on shows like New Faces and Opportunity Knocks as well as the American Star Search.

Talent shows use to have much higher viewing ratings back in the early days of this programme genre but many of these episodes featuring young people have been forgotten, lost or not easily accessible. This isn’t the case any more as although these type of shows are viewed by less people they can now be posted on sites like YouTube for people to watch, comment on and save for years to come. Add to this the celebrity / paparazzi culture we live in with thousands of news reports happening around the globe on just one episode of a TV show adds to the crazy amount of pressure put on the young people featuring in these programmes.

The bosses in charge of I’d Do Anything have made the step to not have the young aspiring Oliver’s up for a weekly public vote and for their fate to rest solely with the judges. Now I’m all for young people being given the chance to display their talents and get recognition for their achievements but this shouldn’t be done in a situation which puts young people at the risk of happenings that hinder their progress or development towards their full potential.

On the flip side I do believe that young people need to be challenged and learn how to deal with pressurised situations, I am not in favour of a world where there is no competition. So in my personal opinion I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer to the question of whether young people should be allowed on TV talent shows. I think decisions on whether young people or a young person should be allowed to go on a TV talent done on a case by case basis with the young persons needs put first and not the needs of a TV show that needs to get ratings.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you agree with young people being scrutinised by judges and the public in TV talent contests? Should there be a minimum age limit? Let us know you thoughts by joining in our topic of the week by going to:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

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