Whether you think How Do you Solve a Problem like Maria, I'd do Anything, and Over the Rainbow are the greatest thing to hit primetime TV or an insult to seriously trained actors, there is no denying the impact that they have had on our industry. Some of that is undoubtedly good – an increase in interest in musical theatre, some very fine performers that have come out of the programmes, and the more than £3 million which has gone to the BBC Performing Arts Fund to be administered as bursaries and donations to individuals towards their training costs.
The money is raised through the voting lines of the BBC1 programmes where a certain amount of the money charged for each phone call is designated towards the fund.
Since 2003, when the fund was set-up, it has helped 739 individuals and around 6,000 members of 98 different with a slice of the £3,017,332 which has been distributed.
“I am delighted that the fund has reached this remarkable landmark in its support of the country's most talented young performers, ” says Chair of the fund, Dorothy Wilson. “And I'm so proud that the BBC Performing Arts Fund is the UK's biggest funder of Musical Theatre Training and development within the charitable sector.”