Rob Beckett and 'Spice Girl' Geri Horner on why their fun-filled singing showcase All Together Now has proved a hit with viewers...
When All Together Now burst onto our screens last year, no one really knew what to expect from this new talent show, in which singers had to perform not for just three judges – but for an entire panel of music experts known as The 100.
With it’s winning mix of comedy, colourful characters and some genuine talent, Rob Beckett as host and Spice Girl Geri Horner as head of The 100, the show soon caught on, and by the time last year’s winner Michael Rice scooped the £50,000 cash prize, the whole nation was singing along!
As All Together Now returns for its second series, this week, a new crop of singers will be doing all they can to impress The 100. As always, if any of The 100 like what they hear, they can stand up and sing along. The more of The 100 a singer can get on their feet, the higher their score and the better their chance of winning a place in the grand final.
TV Times has travelled up to BBC MediaCity in Manchester where All Together Now is being recorded. As we sit in the audience, it’s clear that all of The 100 are raring to go; seeing drag queen Davina, Geri’s bestie Lili and everyone’s favourite ‘Mr Nasty’ Paulus makes us feel like part of the family. Suddenly the studio falls silent and our first singer nervously walks out onto the stage. Can they get the 100 on their feet singing along?
Once filming is over, we sit down with Geri, 46, and Rob, 33, to find out more about the show where there’s real safety in numbers…
You must be thrilled that All Together Now is back for a second series. What do you think it was about the first series that really resonated with people?
Geri: "I think All Together Now works because it’s the perfect antidote to modern living. It’s so much more than just a talent show, it’s a game show, it’s a comedy show and it’s a variety show. We’re all living really stressful, fast-paced lives. And, after a hard week, this show really lifts you up." Rob: "It’s very rare to be able to watch something at the moment and have a conversation between different generations without it ending in some sort of Brexit row! This whole show is built around being funny and entertaining. There are moments where somebody really cares about a song but it never gets too serious. At no point is there any real heartbreak or someone feeling their career is on the line." Geri: "Also, it really is a show for everybody because if you look at The 100, every walk of life, every age, every background is in there. You’ve got Davina, the drag queen, cabaret host Paulus, and everyone in between. You couldn’t get a more diverse group, yet we all come together through song."
Have The 100 been tougher on the singers this time round?
Rob: "Well, I don’t know whether The 100 are tougher or whether, now it’s an established show, the singers coming on are a bit more nervous. Before it was a new thing but now there’s the added pressure because the singers know that friends, family and work colleagues will all be watching."
Geri, as Head of The 100, do you feel you’ve been tougher this time?
Geri: "For me, it’s not good enough just to be a good singer. It’s not just about the vocal or the song or the way you look, it’s about so much more. You’ve got to sparkle from the inside out. Also, thinking back to last year, Michael Rice [who’s representing the UK at this year’s Eurovision] was such a deserving winner; he was effortlessly brilliant in every way and so full of humility. I know he put some of the £50,000 he won into making music but he also bought his mother a pancake shop. So maybe that’s affected my choices, too, because now I feel like if I say yes to one person that may potentially take the place of someone more deserving. Every yes is a no to someone else. It’s important in life to say no, so that when you do say yes it really means something."
Is there one song that's guaranteed to get everyone on their feet?
Rob: "It’s weird because you might think it needs to be a big upbeat one. For instance, Michael last year sang Proud Mary but then he sang a slower song in the final and that still got everyone up!" Geri: "Sometimes you can’t call it. Sometimes you think, this is a great song and I really like them… but then they just fall flat. Other times, someone comes on looking like they’ve just stepped off the bus – but then they start singing and you’re like: 'Wow!'"
We loved the celebrity version of the show at Christmas. What would you both sing if you went on the show?
Geri: "I wouldn’t ever want to be a contestant. What people have to bear in mind is it’s not a normal performance. British people are very polite so, in a normal performance, they’ll clap anyway. This is different. Can you imagine, you’re singing and NOBODY is standing up? I’d be like: 'OK, I’m going now…'" Rob: "I can’t sing at all, so I’ll probably ruin whatever song you give me. I’ve been booed off stage plenty of times at the start of my career in stand-up comedy, so I’m quite comfortable with rejection. The easy option, though, would be to do something big and bold. So, if I had to it would probably be Hey, Big Spender! If Gemma Collins could get away with it on the celeb version, I certainly can!"
Geri, Spice Girls fans were thrilled by the news of a reunion tour this summer. How does it feel to know Spice Mania is still alive and well?
Geri: "When anybody reacts with that much enthusiasm, I always feel incredibly grateful and humbled by that and I’m like: ‘Wow, thank you so much’. And I get it. I feel like The Spice Girls belongs to everybody. It’s something we can all share and it’s a connection we all have. Together."
All Together Now returns on Saturday March 2 at 7.30pm on BBC1.
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With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!