We’re not sure there’s any scenario we could think of that wouldn’t inspire Gareth Malone to form a choir, and we love him for it.
So absolutely no surprise that he decided to get a new singing group together during lockdown! We’re going to see the results of his latest challenge in new BBC Two three-part series, Singing for Britain, as Gareth once again proves the healing power of choral singing.
Here’s everything you need to know about ever-enthusiastic Gareth’s new show.
When is Singing for Britain on TV?
The three-part series airs Tuesday nights on BBC Two, starting on Tuesday 23rd June at 9pm.
What is Singing for Britain about?
This is a series, filmed during lockdown, in which Gareth jumps on the computer and brings together small groups to form choirs. He then teaches them to sing a song representative of the national mood. In episode one, it’s NHS workers, including junior doctor, Sara and critical care nurse, Hannah, both of whom have inspiring stories to tell. In episode two its other key workers, including bin man Mike and community carer, Pippa-Jo and for the third programme Gareth teaches a choir of people forced to self-isolate, including Rae-Kwan whose GCSE exams have been cancelled.
“As soon as lockdown happened I knew I had to find a project,” he told Radio Times magazine. “It’s been very intense, creating music with people on the frontline. I want to help them come to terms with what they’re going through, while keeping me and them sane – I hope. For years there’s been a passionate argument about the importance of music in mental health, and now this situation has brought it to the forefront. Everyone has turned to music in this time. It’s almost all we’ve had to get us through lockdown – and singing makes you feel good.”
Anyone who has tried to conduct choir or band rehearsals via video call will know that there’s a slight sound delay that makes Singing for Britain tougher than it seems.
“It’s impossible to do live singing with large numbers of people over the internet,” Gareth tells Radio Times. “You hit the wall of latency, producing choral garbage. Moreover, the delay varies from person to person. So when you’ve heard choirs or orchestral music made in lockdown, everyone’s part is recorded separately and they’re brought together in the post-production edit.
“Here we’ve used a very clever bit of technology called Timeline Audio, which calculates the individual latency difference for each participant, so that when their singing comes back to me, it’s in synch. Really clever. Mind you, on the first morning nothing worked for 90 minutes. I just sat on the floor with my head in my hands. But since then I’ve had moments of blinding joy.”
Who is Gareth Malone?
Britain’s favourite choirmaster Gareth is famous for his shows forming choirs with people who are not used to singing, helping them deal with difficult times in their lives through the experience of performing together. The results have been incredible. Gareth’s first programme saw him working with teenagers and one of his most famous projects was working with military wives. He has been awarded an OBE for his services to music.
The Choir: Singing for Britain starts on BBC Two at 9pm on Tuesday 23rd June. To find out what else is on in the mean time, check out our TV Guide.