The Choir (TV series)

The Choir
Genre Documentary
Reality television
Directed by Dollan Cannell (Unsung Town)
Sing while you work S2
Peter Coventry (Episode 1)
Stuart Froude (Episode 2)
Tim Hancock (Episode 3)
Presented by Gareth Malone
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 28 + 10 Specials
Executive producer(s) Jamie Isaacs
Lucy Hillman (Military Wives, Unsung Town Revisited)
Producer(s) Pete Cooksley (Sing while you work)
Ludo Graham
Rachel Morgan (Sing while you work Series 2)
Dollan Cannell (Unsung Town Revisited)
Stephen Finnigan (Military Wives)
Running time 60 min
Production company(s) Twenty Twenty
Distributor BBC
Original network BBC Two, BBC America
Original release 2006 – Present
Related shows The Choir: Revisited
External links
BBC homepage for The Choir series
Production website

The Choir is a BAFTA award-winning TV series following Gareth Malone as he tackles the task of teaching choral singing to people who have never had the chance, or experience to sing before.[1]

The first series aired in 2006, the third series, The Choir: Unsung Town, which involved the creation of a choir in South Oxhey, Hertfordshire began on BBC Two on 1 September 2009,[2][3] whilst the fourth series, The Choir: Military Wives was aired in November 2011. The series began to air on BBC America in the summer of 2010.[4]


TitleEpisodesStart DateEnd date
The Choir34 December 200618 December 2006
The Choir: Boys Don't Sing41 February 200822 February 2008
The Choir: Unsung Town41 September 200922 September 2009
The Choir: Military Wives37 November 201121 November 2011
The Choir: Sing While You Work620 September 201225 October 2012
The Choir: Sing While You Work
Series 2
84 November 201323 December 2013
The Choir: Revisited125 January 2008
The Choir: Boys Don't Sing Revisited129 September 2009
The Choir does Sports Relief119 March 2010
The Choir does Comic Relief118 March 2011
The Choir does Children in Need18 November 2011
The Choir: Unsung Town Revisited128 November 2011
The Choir: Military Wives Compilation122 December 2011
A Year with the Military Wives125 December 2012
Gareth's All-Star Choir23 November 201410 November 2014
The Choir: New Military Wives216 December 201423 December 2014
Gareth Malone's Great Choir Reunion226 December 201528 December 2015

The Choir

The original series of The Choir, aired in three episodes in 2006, followed Gareth Malone’s attempts to start a choir from scratch in Northolt High School, a comprehensive school in Middlesex that has never previously had a school choir. In the programme he auditions 160 pupils for his 30-strong choir. After only nine months' training, take them to China to compete in the 2006 World Choir Games. This observational documentary series focuses on the emotional journey of the choir members as they overcome their initial reluctance and try to meet Malone's challenge of performing competitively.[5][6]

The Choir: Revisited

This one-off documentary was filmed as a follow-up to the first series of The Choir and features a return visit to the pupils of Northolt as Malone finds out how the young singers' live have changed in the two years since the first programme.[7][8]

The Choir: Boys Don't Sing

In the second series, originally aired in 2008, Malone takes his choral mission to the Lancaster School, an all-boys school in Leicester which, like the school in the first series, has no previous singing tradition. The single-sex education setting focuses the programme on issues of gender as Malone tackles the perception that "boys don’t sing".[9]

Malone joins the teaching staff and has to work to gain the trust of fellow teachers. His ambition is to form a 100-strong, all-boys choir performing out on the stage alongside the best school choirs in the country as part of the Schools Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall. As he tries to drive through his ambitious plans, he also has to spend time in classroom teaching, deal with the daily bureaucracy of being a teacher, and coping with staff politics.[10][11]

The Choir: Boys Don't Sing – Revisited

This is a one-off documentary follow-up to the second series, in which Gareth Malone returns to the Lancaster School to catch up with the former choir members and find out if he has made a lasting impact on their lives.

The Choir: Unsung Town

The third series of The Choir, broadcast in September 2009, focuses on a town rather than an education setting. Gareth Malone takes his choral challenge to the community of South Oxhey, Watford, a housing estate area where working class culture is strong and there is no tradition of choral singing. Malone's challenge is to break through preconceptions about choirs and motivate local people to sing together, and he succeeds in creating a community choir and staging a choral festival at South Oxhey playing fields.[12][13]

The legacy of the programme was the creation of the South Oxhey Community Choir and the South Oxhey Youth Choir. During the filming of The Choir, the choirs performed at venues including the Watford Colosseum in December 2008, St Albans Abbey in February 2009, and headlining at Sox Fest '09 in May 2009.[14] In April 2009, the Community Choir made their debut recording at Abbey Road Studios[15]

Gareth Malone continued as choirmaster for two years following the conclusion of the TV recording and now maintains his support as patron.[16] The choir continues to perform regularly with their current musical director, Simon Wookey.[17]

The Choir: Unsung Town – Revisited

This is a one-off documentary follow-up to the third series, in which Gareth Malone returns to South Oxhey to catch up with the choir members both past and present; in order to see if the community is continuing to be united through the use of song.

The Choir does Sport Relief

Aired on 19 March 2010 as part of Sport Relief 2010; Gareth Malone gathered and trained Olympic and Paralympic athletes to form The Sport Relief Choir.

The Choir does Comic Relief

Gareth Malone took part in the BBC's charity fundraising show Comic Relief 2011, which was aired on 18 March 2011. He formed a choir of celebrity chefs (including Ainsley Harriott, Antony Worrall Thompson, Nancy Lam, Rosemary Shrager, Gary Rhodes, Rusty Lee and others) and trained them to sing a choral arrangement of Rick Astley's 1987 song "Never Gonna Give You Up". During rehearsals, Astley appeared in person. The song was performed live on television as part of the fundraiser show.[18]

The Choir: Military Wives

The fourth series, The Choir: Military Wives, began airing on Monday, 7 November 2011 and followed the three-episode format of the previous series. The situation is different from previous series; the setting is on two British Army bases in Devon (Chivenor Barracks and Royal Citadel, Plymouth), and Malone seeks to enlist voices for an all-women choir - the wives and girlfriends of military personnel deployed to Afghanistan.[19] The programme explores the vulnerability of the women while their partners are away on active service, and Malone's aim is to strengthen their morale and raise their profile in the public perception. The culmination of the programme is a performance by the Military Wives Choir in The Royal British Legion's Remembrance service at the Royal Albert Hall on 12 November 2011.[20][21]

As a spin-off of the Military Wives series, the Military Wives Choir recorded a CD single of the song Wherever You Are specially composed for the programme by Paul Mealor.[22] The song became the Christmas number-one single, after outselling the release by The X Factor winners Little Mix.[23]

The DVD of the series will be released in February 2012 by Acorn Media UK.

The Choir does Children in Need

Aired on 18 November 2011 as part of Children in Need 2011.

Over 2000 children performed via video link-up from across the UK for the Children in Need 2011 appeal night singing Avril Lavigne's "Keep Holding On".

The Choir: Sing while you work

Series 1

In the 2012 series, Gareth Malone takes his choral mission into places of work, travelling to Lewisham NHS Trust, the Bristol branch of Royal Mail, Manchester Airport and the offices of Severn Trent Water. He sets up a choir of employees in each organisation who then rehearse music with the aim of competing in a singing competition in front of a judging panel consisting of the music director of the John Lewis Partnership, Manvinder Rattan; soul singer Ruby Turner; and choral conductor Ralph Allwood. The winning group is to be judged the best workplace choir.[24][25] Manchester airport choir were eliminated at the semi final stage. Of the three remaining groups, Severn Trent Water choir won the final.[26]

1Lewisham NHS Trust [27]20 September 2012
2Royal Mail Bristol [28]27 September 2012
3Manchester Airport [29]4 October 2012
4Severn Trent Water [30]11 October 2012
5SEMI-FINAL[31]18 October 2012
6FINAL[32]25 October 2012

Series 2

For the second series of Sing While You Work, staff choirs from five organisations are created.

1P&O[33]4 November 2013
2Birmingham City Council[34]11 November 2013
3Sainsbury's[35]18 November 2013
4Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service[36]25 November 2013
5Citigroup2 December 2013
6QUARTER FINAL9 December 2013
7SEMI FINAL16 December 2013
8FINAL22 December 2013

Gareth's All-Star Choir

Gareth forms an All-Star choir, bringing together a group of celebrities from television, sport and theatre with the aim to record and release the official 2014 Children in Need single Wake Me Up (Originally by Avicii).[37][38] The choir consists of 12 celebrities; Mel Giedroyc, Alison Steadman, Alice Levine, Jo Brand, Linda Robson, Maggie Alphonsi, Craig Revel Horwood, John Craven, Larry Lamb, Fabrice Muamba, Nitin Ganatra and Radzi Chinyanganya.


Weekly ranking
The Choir
14 December 20062,280,00019
211 December 20062,690,00011
318 December 20062,980,0006
The Choir: Revisited
125 January 20081,820,00027
The Choir: Boys Don't Sing
11 February 20082,530,00017
28 February 20082,724,0008
315 February 20082,743,0007
422 February 20083,163,0006
The Choir: Unsung Town
11 September 20092,652,0007
28 September 20092,667,0004
315 September 20092,417,0009
422 September 20092,787,0005
The Choir: Boys Don't Sing Revisited
129 September 20092,681,0009
The Choir does Sports Relief
N/A19 March 2010N/AN/A
The Choir does Comic Relief
N/A18 March 2011N/AN/A
The Choir: Military Wives
17 November 20112,520,00013
214 November 20112,744,0006
321 November 20112,978,0006
The Choir does Children in Need
N/A18 November 2011N/AN/A
The Choir: Sing while you work
120 September 20122,543,0004
227 September 20123,074,0002
34 October 20122,607,0003
411 October 20122,836,0003
518 October 20123,098,0002
6 (Final)25 October 20123,246,0002
The Choir: Sing while you work Series 2
14 November 20132,900,0006
211 November 20132,840,0008
318 November 20132,580,0007
425 November 20132,510,0008
52 December 20132,310,0007
69 December 20132,200,0008
716 December 20132,650,0004
8 (Final)22 December 20133,450,0001
The Choir: New Military Wives
116 December 20142,600,0008
223 December 20142,200,00010
Gareth Malone's Great Choir Reunion
126 December 20152,360,0009
228 December 20151,990,00013
The Choir: Gareth’s Best in Britain
11 November 20162,290,0006
28 November 20162,500,0007
315 November 20162,210,0009
422 November 20162,080,0007
529 November 20162,180,0007
65 December 20162,300,0007

DVD releases

TitleDetailsSpecial featuresRelease dates
The Choir – Series One[39]
  • 4 episodes
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: yes
  • English (2.0 stereo)
  • Total running time: approx 240 minutes

The Choir: Revisited

Region 2 – 5 September 2009

The Choir Series 2: Boys Don't Sing[40]
  • 4 episodes
  • Total running time: approx 300 minutes
18 April 2011
The Choir Series 3: Unsung Town[40]
  • Total running time: 240 minutes
5 September 2011
The Choir Series 4: Military Wives[40]
  • Total running time: 180 minutes

Gareth Malone biography; photo gallery

6 February 2012

Awards and nominations

The Choir was awarded a BAFTA at the British Academy Television Awards 2007 for Best Feature.[41] The Choir: Boys Don't Sing won several awards in 2009, including a BAFTA at the British Academy Television Awards 2009 for Best Feature of 2008,[42] the 2009 Broadcast Award of Best Popular Factual Programme,[43] the Royal Television Society 2009 for best Constructed Factual Series,[44] and Best Programme Series in the 2009 VLV Awards[45] The Choir: Unsung Town was the winner of the Best Factual Programme of 2009 category at the 2010 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards,[43] and was nominated for a BAFTA as best Television Feature of 2009 for the British Academy Television Awards 2010.[46]

United States version

The USA Network planned to air It Takes a Choir starting in October 2014. Episodes had been taped two years earlier. The premiere date was delayed several times, and late in November 2014, the network announced that it would air all eight episodes on the afternoon and evening of 29 December.[47]

See also


  2. South Choirs website
  3. "The Choir: Unsung Town". Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  4. Lloyd, Robert; Critic, Television (7 July 2010). "Television Review: 'The Choir' on BBC America". Los Angeles Times.
  5. TwentyTwenty Television (4–18 December 2006). "The Choir". Series 1. BBC. BBC Two. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  6. "The Choir". Gareth Malone official website. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  7. "The Choir: Revisited". 1. 25 January 2008. BBC. BBC Two.
  8. "The Choir: Revisited". Gareth Malone official website. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  9. "Music department". The Lancaster School website. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  10. "The Choir - Boys Don't Sing". TwentyTwenty TV. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  11. "The Choir II: Boys Don't Sing". Gareth Malone official website. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  12. "The Choir III: Unsung Town". Gareth Malone official website. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  13. TwentyTwenty (1–22 September 2009). "The Choir:Unsung Town". The Choir. Series 3. 60 minutes in. BBC. BBC Two.
  14. "SOXfest". The South Oxhey Festival website. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  15. "The South Oxhey Community Choir record The Beatles at Abbey Road". The Watford Observer. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  16. "Patron - Gareth Malone". South Oxhey Choirs website. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  17. "Musical Director". South Oxhey Choirs website. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  18. "The Chefs Choir Training". BBC/Comic Relief. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  19. TwentyTwenty TV (November 2011). "Military Wives". BBC. BBC Two. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  20. "The Choir: Military Wives". TwentyTwenty TV. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  21. "Military Wives". Gareth Malone official website. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  22. "Military Wives: Wherever You Are". Gareth Malone official website. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  23. Shipman, Tim; Paul Connolly and Paul Harris (21 December 2011). Military Wives rejoice: Choir beats VAT threat as single heads for Christmas No1 with 300,000 sales. The Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  24. "Sing While You Work". Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  25. Butcher, David. "The Choir: Sing While You Work". Radio Times. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  26. "Severn Trent choir triumph BBC2's The Choir: Sing While You Work". Leicester Mercury. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  27. "Lewisham NHS Trust" at BBC Programmes
  28. "Royal Mail Bristol" at BBC Programmes
  29. "Manchester Airport" at BBC Programmes
  30. "Severn Trent Water" at BBC Programmes
  31. "The Semi-Final" at BBC Programmes
  32. "The Final" at BBC Programmes
  33. "P&O" at BBC Programmes
  34. "Birmingham City Council" at BBC Programmes
  35. "Sainsbury's" at BBC Programmes
  36. "Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service" at BBC Programmes
  37. "Gareth Malone to form All-Star Choir for official BBC Children in Need single 2014". BBC Media Centre. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  38. "Gareth's All Star Choir". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  40. 1 2 3 "DVDs & Music". Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  41. "Television Nominations 2006". BAFTA Television Awards. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  42. "Television Nominations 2008". BAFTA Television Awards. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  43. 1 2 "Our Awards". TwentyTwenty TV. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  44. "RTS Programme Awards winners 2009 in full". London: The Guardian. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  45. "VLV 2009 Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting". Voice of the Listener & Viewer. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012.
  46. "Television Nominations 2009". British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
  47. owen, Rob (28 November 2014). "TV Q&A: 'It Takes a Choir,' 'The Millers' and 'Nightly Sports Call'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
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