Britannia High

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Britannia High
Genre Musical drama
Created by Arlene Phillips
David Ian
Starring Mitch Hewer
Georgina Hagen
Sapphire Elia
Rana Roy
Matthew James Thomas
Marcquelle Ward
Adam Garcia
Mark Benton
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 9
Production
Producer(s) Brian Grant
Gareth Philips
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Broadcast
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV,
CITV (UK),
TV3 (ROI)
Original run 26 October 2008 – 20 December 2008

Britannia High is a British musical drama television series co-produced by Granada Television (now part of ITV Studios) and Globe Productions for the ITV network. The series focused on the lives of a group of teenagers and their mentors at a fictional London theatre school. It aired on ITV and TV3 Ireland,[1] premiering on 26 October 2008.

The show starred Sapphire Elia, Georgina Hagen, Mitch Hewer, Rana Roy, Matthew James Thomas and Marcquelle Ward, as well as Adam Garcia as the dance mentor, Lorraine Pilkington as the music mentor and Mark Benton as the school principal and acting mentor.[2] In addition to the main cast, the series featured cameo performances from Girls Aloud, Boyzone, Matt Willis and Gemma Bissix. Also, Aston Merrygold, lead singer of hit boyband JLS, auditioned for the role before his success in the boyband - but only made it to the final 16. George Ure who attended Mountview Academy also auditioned before his success in the Musical Wicked where he played Boq. Pixie Lott also auditioned as did Ed Sheeran and Danielle Peazer. The show featured an original soundtrack which was created by a team of pop producers and writers in the UK, led by Take That member Gary Barlow.

The show has been compared to the popular musicals High School Musical and Fame. The cast, however, are of the opinion that Britannia High is, "Something new. And it's British."[3]

A second series was ruled out in January 2009 by ITV after the first received poor ratings, being beaten by other shows such as BBC's Antiques Roadshow.

Production[edit]

Britannia High was based on an idea by Strictly Come Dancing choreography judge Arlene Phillips and theatre impresario David Ian, who were both executive producers for the show. It was developed by producer Gareth Philips for ITV Productions in Manchester. Alongside Philips, the production team consisted of series producer and lead director Brian Grant, executive producers Kieran Roberts and Mark Wells, and Anna Land for Globe Productions. It was written by Jonathan Harvey, Damon Rochefort, Julie Jones, Kirstie Falkous, and John Regier.

In addition to Arlene Phillips managing the choreography, Gary Barlow was heavily involved in providing the score of Britannia High. Guy Chambers, Steve Mac, Andy Hill, Mark Owen, James Bourne and Elliot Kennedy also contributed to the musical component of the show.

Britannia High was commissioned by ITV from ITV plc's in-house production division. After low ratings, ITV did not commission a second series, though Arlene Phillips told ITN that the format was "not done and dusted".[4][5]

Cast for Series 1[edit]

Name Actor Centric episodes
Lola Jonze Rana Roy 1.04, 1.07
Considered an amazing dancer from Gotham, Lola's eccentricities and naïve optimism make her popular at school. She can be quite giddy and is very girly, and could possibly be described as "cute and ditzy". She has a relationship with teacher Stefan, and leaves Britannia High at the end of the series to be with him.
Lauren Waters Georgina Hagen 1.01, 1.08
Hailing from a small town and a close-knit family, Lauren initially feels lost amongst the huge personalities at the school. She works in a restaurant when not studying at Britannia High, and her main strength is singing. She struggles to hit high notes, which Claudine seizes advantage of. She dates Danny until the end of episode 6.
Claudine Cameron Sapphire Elia 1.06
Claudine will do anything to make it; including sabotaging other people. She is determined to make it big and to be famous. She can be quite mean to Lauren, possibly because of her crush on Danny. Claudine begins dating Danny at the end of episode 6, after revealing to Danny that her mother abused her as a child, but their relationship ends during the finale.
Danny Miller Mitch Hewer 1.02
He's a genuine, down-to-earth guy with a passion for performing, who also has dyslexia. He starts the year as Lauren's boyfriend, but they break up in episode 6 when he starts dating Claudine. In episode 8, he admits he has feelings for both girls and they force him to choose. He cannot make up his mind, so both girls dump him, but still consider him as a friend.
Jez Tyler Matthew James Thomas 1.03
Jez is an intelligent and quick-witted singer-songwriter who finally finds a sense of belonging when he enrolls at Britannia High. Thinks he's trying to be cool by having "Jez" for a nickname for his real name, Jeremy. Jez comes from a very rich background, and eventually admits to his father that he attends Britannia High rather than a business school as his father had thought. In episode 3, Jez's father remarks that his son is gay, which Jez himself confirms in both episode 7 (after the group find out that Ronnie said she and Jez were dating) and episode 8 (after being kissed by Ronnie).
BB Simons Marcquelle Ward 1.05
BB (real name Trevor, according to Ronnie's documentary 5) considers himself to be the UK's answer to Jamie Foxx, but is actually the most grounded and mature of all the students. His parents died when he was eight years old and he has a brother, Julius, who died during the episode 'Go Your Own Way'.
Ronnie Nuttal Sophie Powles 1.08
Ronnie Nuttal is a quirky girl who works at the canteen at Britannia High. She hopes that her dinner lady job at the school will open doors and present new opportunities. She has said she hates Claudine and she seen a ghost in her documentary. In episode 8, it is revealed that Ronnie auditioned for Britannia High, but she can't sing. She has feelings for Jez, which is revealed when she kisses him in episode 8, despite him being gay.
Mr. (Frank) Nugent Mark Benton none
Principal and acting mentor at Britannia High. A firm and friendly man but serious when he needs to be happy and joyful and tries not to get involved in the students' personal lives.
Stefan Adam Garcia 1.07
Stefan is Britannia High's dance teacher and choreographer. He grows very close to Lola and fears that he may be falling in love. To prevent Lola from dropping school in order to be with him, he quits his job at Britannia High and moves back to Australia, but returns for the end-of-year showcase to ask her to go away with him.
Anna Lorraine Pilkington none
Music mentor at Britannia High.
Mrs. Troy Michele Austin none
Looks after the kids in the house and acts as their landlord. Mrs. Troy loves creating art (as well as dabbling in pottery), however it is apparent that she lacks any skill in the subject.

Episode list[edit]

Britannia High began broadcasting in a primetime Sunday night slot starting on 26 October 2008. The first episode was made available on ITV Player as a "sneak peek" on 17 October.

Episode No. Episode Name Central Character Songs
1.01 Let's Dance! Lauren "Start of Something", "Watch This Space" and "Best of Me"
All the students at Britannia High worked hard to get in Britannia High, however, Lauren got in with an easy pass as she was found singing at a wedding and got offered a place at the school. Lauren finds it hard to fit in amongst the crowd as Claudine is always mean and catty with her, but the heartthrob of the school, Danny, has his eye on her. She also finds the dance routine particularly hard and is scared she will lose her place.
1.02 Behind the Mask Danny "Changing Man", "I'm the Man" and "Missing Person"
BB and Jez secretly sign Danny for student rep. He has to interview Girls Aloud members Nicola and Kimberley in front of the whole school. It is then revealed that Danny is dyslexic after running out of the hall as Nicola and Kimberly think he is not being serious.
1.03 Who Are You? Jez "Wake Up", "I Am Who I Am" and "Proud"
When Jez bumps into some old friends at his birthday party, he's forced to confess a big secret! He is really rich and living in a building behind Harrods. When his father discovers he enrolled in Britannia High, he orders him to quit, otherwise he will no longer be in the family fold. It is revealed in this episode that Jez is gay. Lola gives him a magazine at his birthday party and says, "Three steps to getting your man, happy birthday!". Also Jez's father says, "Seems like having a gay son gives me more opportunities to put my foot in it".
1.04 Fame Lola "Overnight Sensation", "Get Over Yourself", "Picking Up The Pieces"
When Lola bumps into Matt Willis on a night out and gets photographed with him, she sells her story to a reporter, Lizzie Porter, a journalist for The Sun, and starts to make up lies about Matt to keep herself in the press, however, her new-found celebrity status comes at a price as Principal Nugent gives her a choice: either she decides to leave Britannia High, and continue living the high life, or, she stays at Britannia High and gives up her new status. Lola decides to quit Britannia High, which shocks Lauren, Danny, Claudine and the rest of the gang, but when everything starts to fall apart, has Lola made the biggest mistake of her life?
1.05 Go Your Own Way BB "Confessions", "Fight Song", "The Things That We Don't Say"
BB's life is changed forever when his older brother, Julius, spots him in the dance studio. Desperate to prove his manhood, he joins Julius' gang and is forced to handle a gun when he states that the school has not made him soft. When he refuses to raid a shop, the lads drive off in BB's car. When BB goes back to Julius' flat, he has an argument with his brother and leaves the flat to sleep at school. The next morning, BB find out through the headteacher that his brother and a "mate" had a gun fight and Julius was shot. BB runs all the way to hospital and holds Julius' hand as he dies. BB gets angry around everyone and threatens to kill the murderer. However, Jez convinces him otherwise and the episode ends with the gang doing street dancing.
1.06 Miss Independent Claudine "You've Got Nothing On Me", "Wake The Dead" and "Growing Pains"
Claudine's head over heels in love with Danny, but he only has eyes for Lauren. Determined to ruin their relationship, Claudine steals the rose and card that Danny left on Lauren's bed to celebrate three months together, making Lauren think that he's forgotten. Claudine then leaves a present for Danny in his locker, and remarks to Lauren that Danny may have a "secret admirer", further angering Lauren. Meanwhile, Lola is convinced that she's seen a ghost and the gang plays a prank on her, organising a midnight ghost hunt in the school, with Ronnie dressed up as a ghost. During the ghost hunt, Danny and Lauren, now aware of Claudine's plan to split them up, confront her about it. Claudine runs off in tears, before calling Lola an idiot, and taunting BB about his dead brother, Julius. Danny and Lauren then feel guilty for provoking her, and run off to find her. Claudine tells Danny tearfully all about her past, and that her mother used to secretly abuse her when she was a kid. Realising that, underneath all of the make up, Claudine is really a sweet, troubled girl, Danny tries to cheer her up by singing 'Growing Pains' to her and dressing up in the old stage costumes, and eventually, she laughs, and joins in. When the song is over, Claudine confesses her love to Danny, but says that she understands that he doesn't love her back. After a little hesitation, Danny and Claudine kiss, unaware that a shocked Lauren is backstage, watching . . .
1.07 Don't Stand So Close To Me Stefan "Body To Body", "Obsession" and "What Good Is Love?"
The gang steals Lola's diary and learns of her relationship with Stefan. Stefan chooses Lola to represent the school in a dance contest and she has extra rehearsals alone with Stefan to prepare for it. When Stefan eventually admits he has feelings for her, Lola plans to drop out of Britannia High and join another performing arts school so they can be together. Stefan decides to return to Australia to prevent Lola from basing her life around their relationship. This episode features the classic line: Lola: "Does he like Pea & Ham...or Ham & Pea?". Meanwhile, Lauren struggles to come to terms with her heartbreak over Danny and tries to be friends with Claudine.
1.08 With A Little Help From My Friends Ronnie "So High", "Weight Of The World" "Do It All Over Again",
Canteen girl Ronnie is determined to try to earn a place in the end-of-year showcase, so much so she asks Jez for help. However, his kindness of not telling her she is a bad singer leads to humiliation. Ronnie decides to leave Britannia High, and Jez unsuccessfully runs after her in attempt to convince her otherwise. However, Ronnie changes her mind and returns to her canteen job, while taking an evening course in hair and make-up so she can continue pursuing her dream of working in theatre. Also, Lauren deals with the possibility that she may have multiple sclerosis, and Danny finds himself in a dilemma when he reveals he has feelings for both Lauren and Claudine.
1.09 Finale Cast "Start of Something", "Without You", "Changing Man", "Best of Me", "Watch This Space", "Things That We Don't Say", "Wake Up", "Proud", "Body to Body", "Growing Pains"
Tensions are high between the students at the end of year showcase. Lauren gets her test results back, and is revealed that she does not have multiple sclerosis. Jez's dad attends the showcase; he apologises to Jez and welcomes him back home. Stefan returns, admitting that he cannot stop thinking about Lola, and suggests that she goes to Australia with him, and she agrees. BB and Jez make plans to travel around the world, but Jez drops out after he and his father reconcile. Ronnie jumps on the chance to join BB on his world trip. Danny chooses Lauren over Claudine; after that, Danny confronts Claudine, but she already knew that Danny chose Lauren first, giving him a slap. In the end, the showcase was successful, making everyone forget about their feuds, admitting they wouldn't have had it differently. As the episode ends, the cast comes together to sing their last song, "Without You".
  • The live performances in this episode were recorded live, but were mimed by the cast, with the exception of the vocals from Matthew Thomas in "Proud" and Sapphire Elia in "Growing Pains". Also, Boyzone make a guest appearance with their new single "Better".

Release[edit]

Country Network(s) Series premiere
United Kingdom ITV1 (CITV) 26 October 2008
Australia Seven Network
Nickelodeon
6 December 2008
2009
Hong Kong TVB J2 29 November 2009
Israel yes stars Base
HOT family
22 January 2010
Cyprus RIK 2 2010
France W9 26 October 2009
Brazil HBO Family Brazil 2009
Ecuador Boomerang 2010
Mexico Boomerang 2010
Peru Boomerang 2010
Venezuela Boomerang 2010
Dominican Republic Boomerang 2010
Poland TVP1 11 September 2010
Finland SuomiTV 10 January 2011
India Zee Café April 2011
Spain ETB 3 27 June 2011

Weekly ratings[edit]

# Episode UK air date Timeslot Viewers (millions)[6] Audience share in timeslot
1 "Let's Dance" 26 October 2008 6:15 pm 3.55 14.5%
2 "Behind the Mask" 2 November 2008 7.15 pm 4.27 16.2%
3 "Who Are You?" 9 November 2008 7:00 pm 2.53 10.4%
4 "Fame" 16 November 2008 7:00 pm 2.51 10.2%
5 "Go Your Own Way" 23 November 2008 7:00 pm 2.54 10.6%
6 "Miss Independent" 30 November 2008 7:00 pm 2.01 8.3%
7 "Don't Stand So Close To Me" 7 December 2008 6:30pm 1.95 8.2%
8 "With A Little Help From My Friends" 14 December 2008 7:00pm 1.79 7.3%
9 "Finale" 20 December 2008 5:30pm 1.30 6.6%
Episode 2 was delayed by 15 minutes due to Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Formula One.

Interactive elements[edit]

Britannia High featured a wide range of online content, including on itv.com, ITV Mobile, ITV Interactive and the social networking site, Bebo.

The Britannia High website was the virtual home of the performing arts school, and featured interactive elements such as blogs, photographs, e-newsletters and music from Universal Artists. Additionally, two characters, BB and Jez, hosted a podcast featuring songs from the series and also world songs. ITV's red button service, ITV Interactive, featured preview and catch-up videos, character profiles, photo galleries and dance tutorials.

Soundtrack[edit]

The Britannia High Soundtrack was released on 24 November 2008. It included 18 songs from the show.

Track listing[edit]

  1. Cast - "Start Of Something"
  2. Danny - "Missing Person"
  3. Lauren - "Best Of Me"
  4. Lauren and Claudine - "Watch This Space"
  5. Claudine and Danny - "Growing Pains"
  6. Lola and Stefan - "What Good Is Love"
  7. Lauren - "So High"
  8. Jez - "Wake Up"
  9. Lola and Stefan - "Body To Body"
  10. BB - "The Things That We Don't Say"
  11. Jez - "Proud"
  12. BB and Jez - "Fight Song"
  13. Claudine - "Do It All Over Again"
  14. Lola, Lauren and Claudine - "Picking Up The Pieces"
  15. BB - "Confessions"
  16. Cast - "Without You"
  17. Jez - "Weight Of The World"
  18. Danny and Lauren - "Changing Man"

The CD also features a weblink which allows the owner to download a "Britannia High Megamix" (ft. "Start Of Something", "Wake Up", "Missing Person", "Best of Me" and "Watch This Space"), "Start of Something" video, "Start of Something" (behind the scenes) and a remix of "Watch This Space".

Additional broadcast[edit]

CITV[edit]

The hour-long episodes of Britannia High were reconfigured into two-part 30-minute episodes, and broadcast on ITV's children's strand CITV from 20 April 2009. In accordance with CITV's target audience, words such as "bitch" and "sex" have been edited out of dialogue and songs.

On Demand[edit]

All nine 45-minute episodes were made available to Virgin Media's customers through ITV Player, which is carried on Virgin's On Demand service.

References[edit]

  1. ^ TV Guide
  2. ^ Introducing ITV's New Musical Drama Britannia High
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Balls, David (2009-01-19). "'Britannia High' axed after one series". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  5. ^ Published Monday, 26 January 2009, 07:28 GMT (2009-01-26). "Phillips: There's life in 'Britannia High' - TV News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  6. ^ "Weekly Viewing Summary (see relevant week)". BARB. 

External links[edit]

News articles[edit]