PICKS: Feel good TV

Dance your heart out
November 1, 2006

Dance your heart out
You know that moment in musicals when someone suddenly breaks into song and the scene instantly turns into a public dancing, singing extravaganza? Well, take the energy and spontaneity of that moment and pair it with an ordinary person delivering a heartfelt message to someone they love and you’ve got It’s Now or Never, a new format from London-based September Films. The 60-minute primetime format takes an everyday person with an important message to give to someone dear to them and turns it into a musical spectacular – complete with dozens of trained singing and shimmying extras as backup.

In one of the two hours of the show commissioned by the UK’s ITV1, a nervous bloke is whipped into performing shape over eight days so that he can surprise his girlfriend with an engagement ring. He’s mocked by a vocal trainer and fumbles and curses through dance rehearsals, but the blisters and frustration are worth it: the look on his girlfriend’s face as he launches into his full-out musical number on a tour boat is priceless.

The other hour of It’s Now or Never involves a woman telling her best friend, who is going through chemotherapy, how much she means to her. Prepare your tissues, folks.

For those delivering the sentiment, nailing the performance rehearsals is only one part of the battle. They’ve also got to keep the whole process under wraps so that when the reveal – the public culmination of their musical training – happens, their loved one is completely surprised.

Distributed by London’s September International, the show is available internationally. It’ll make you sing along, sway in your seat, and even the most toughened of viewers will emit an ‘aww’ or two. AA Kindness of strangers
Best be nice to those new neighbors. Those low-class yokels might actually be millionaires sent to test your humanity. (Or, you know, they could just be yokels…)

London’s RDF Media will roll out a new series called Secret Millionaire on C4 in the UK at the end of the year. The 5 x 1-hour program has a simple enough premise: get a few millionaires to go incognito for 10 days, disguised as poor folk moving into some of the most deprived parts of the Kingdom. Then, at the end of the experiment, have them hand out up to £50,000 (US$95,000) of their own money to the causes and people they deem most worthy – be that local social needs, or just couples who couldn’t afford to get married. (And props to RDF casting for finding five sets of rich folk willing to part with their own cash for the sake of a good cause and some primetime promo.) BC

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.