Former Coronation Street stars Sarah Lancashire and Richard Fleeshman have been signed up to star in an upcoming BBC drama about a choir. The drama, which has the working title of The Choir Project, is from Cutting It writer Debbie Horsfield and is due to run on BBC1 for six one-hour episodes in early 2009. Sarah - Raquel Watts in the soap - plays Esther, who juggles singing in a choir with being a mum to teenagers Fred, Georgia and musically gifted Kyle, played by Richard, who was the Street's Craig Harris. Everything's going well, until sexy soprano Layla (Sarah Alexander) turns up and persuades the conductor - and Esther's husband - Michael (Neil Pearson) to kick out the choir's weakest singers, in her quest for glory. When Esther is ousted from the group, she decides to form a new choir with all her fellow rejects and - with the help of son Kyle - vows to become the best choir in town. Richard has proved to be musically gifted in real life. Quitting the Street in 2006, he triumphed on ITV1's Soapstar Superstar contest that same year before going on to pursue a music career. Kate Harwood, BBC's controller of series and serials, said: "A passion for music lies at the heart of Debbie Horsfield's warm and uplifting drama. "As the characters' individual stories unfold it's the power of music that holds them together – we're delighted to be bringing such an original and feel-good drama to BBC audiences, and hope to have them singing along!"
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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