I'd Do Anything

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
I'd Do Anything TV Poster Image
Talented kids, adults compete for big British theater roles.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show isn't meant to be educational, but young viewers will learn a few things about Oliver and the inner workings of musical theater.

Positive Messages

The show highlights the hard work and dedication that goes into landing acting roles on this level, and there's a lot less personal drama than on other reality shows.

Positive Role Models & Representations

By casting both a child and an adult actor for two different roles, the show offers kids plenty of relatable, positive role models.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

There's some mild sexual innuendo (and, at times, major cleavage) during auditions for the show's "tart with a heart."

Language

Infrequent use of mild terms like "tart" and "ballsy."

Consumerism

The show is designed to drum up interest in (and ticket sales for) a production of Oliver, which is to be produced in London's West End theater district.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British reality competition already aired in the U.K., so even though it blatantly tries to boost ticket sales for an upcoming production of Oliver, you won't have to worry about your kids expecting seats on opening night. (Downloading the soundtrack might be another matter.) Since children are directly involved in the competition, there's nothing too racy for most kids. For example, although one of the characters being cast is a "tart with a heart," the show doesn't play up her sexual side too much.

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What's the story?

In I'D DO ANYTHING, professionals and amateurs alike are competing for the chance to play "tart with a heart" Nancy in a West End production of Oliver, the 1960 musical based on the book Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. After getting past preliminary auditions, 42 lucky finalists are sent to "Nancy School" to participate in workshops and face further elimination. After that, it's on to a 10-week live show, in which a dozen finalists perform for a live audience and watch their numbers fall until, ultimately, a winner is chosen. The show also includes a secondary search for three boys to play the lead role of Oliver, although the young finalists don't face a public vote. Graham Norton hosts.

Is it any good?

Andrew Lloyd Weber and his cohorts are up to their usual tricks in the third installment of this successful British import (in previous installments, most of the same crew helped pick new leads for West End productions of The Sound of Music and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with smashing results). Once again, there's some amazing talent -- with some "not so much" thrown in just for laughs. But this time around, the judges also have a second role to cast: Oliver himself.

Adding the kids to the mix might draw more interest from younger viewers, who can learn a lot by observing the casting process. But it will also assist adult viewers across the pond with name recognition, as most average Americans will have no idea who Nancy is. Oliver might be a classic in Britain, but in the States, it's not exactly a national treasure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about consumerism and marketing a product -- such as an uncoming musical -- through television. How does a series like this help the musical's producers promote their show and sell more tickets? Why open up the field to amateurs instead of hiring professional actors to play these parts?

  • Do you think the finalists the panel chose are the best candidates for their respective parts? Why did the judges choose to cast the role of Oliver themselves instead of leaving it up to a public vote? Why do the female contestants have to sing pop songs in addition to songs from the show?

  • Parents and kids can also research the original Dickens tale upon which the musical is based.

TV details

For kids who love musicals

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