PITCH BATTLE: MEET THE JUDGES, HOSTS & GROUPS 337

The clash of choirs commences as Pitch Battle brings a unique blend of sass, swagger and a pinch of mischief to summer Saturdays on BBC One.

This brand new series, which sees rival musical groups facing-off against each other, will be presented by Mel Giedroyc with regular judges Gareth Malone and Kelis joined by a different third Superstar Guest Judge each week to preside over Showstoppers, Riff Offs, Soloists Battles and Final Battles as the groups pull out-all-the-stops in this sing or be sung off choral clash.

Format
Each week, six vocal groups of all different styles and sizes battle it out in a series of different singing challenges, before one emerges victorious and goes through to the live final at the end of the series.

Each episode opens with a dramatic themed mash-up, arranged by the series musical director Deke Sharon – the musical director of the Pitch Perfect movies, where all six groups take to the stage before host Mel Giedroyc enters and introduces the two resident judges Gareth Malone and Kelis, plus that week’s special Superstar Guest Judge. Then the clash of choirs commences!

Showstoppers and Riff-Off
The first two groups go head-to-head – each performing their Showstopper – a song that typifies what they are all about. And then it’s battle time! The theme of their Riff-Off is revealed by the theme machine – any topic from Happy to Angry Break Ups – before the two groups try to out sing each other, showcasing their versatility by singing songs based on the Riff-Off theme.

After the Riff-Off, Pitch Battle’s Musical Director Deke Sharon gives his take on proceedings before the judges deliver their verdict – the name of the group they want to go through to the Solo Battles, and therefore which group will be heading home.

Then the next two groups go into battle – performing their Showstopper and Riff-Off, with the judges revealing the winner. And then it’s the turn of the final two groups.

The Solo Battles
Following the three rounds of Showstoppers and Riff-Offs, three groups remain and the pressure mounts. In the Solo Battles each group must nominate a soloist to take centre stage and perform a solo, backed by the rest of their choir. After all three solo performances the judges will decide which two groups are sent into the Final Battle, and who has sadly missed out.

The Final Battle
In the epic Final Battle, two groups remain and stand side-by-side on the stage. They must now share an iconic song associated with this week’s Superstar Guest Judge. Then, towards the end of the song, there’s an instrumental break and the Superstar Guest Judge will rise from their seat, mic in hand, and make their way to the stage and join in with the group the judges have decided should go through to the live final.

All is not lost however, as each week the losing Final Battle group still has a chance to grab the last remaining spot in the Grand Final as a Wild Card entry. Gareth and Kelis will reveal to the viewers at the end of episode five who the Wild Card entry is.


MEL GIEDROYC INTERVIEW


Pitch Battle presenter Mel Giedroyc is a self-confessed music lover and no stranger to the world of singing herself, having previously starred in The Rocky Horror Show Live and Eurovision spoof Eurobeat.

Her television presenting credits include Let’s Sing And Dance For Comic Relief and The Great British Bake Off.

How would you describe Pitch Battle?
First and foremost, it is a non-brutal competition. There is a £50k prize for the winning group, which is amazing, but this is about the genuine love of what they are doing rather than ‘look at me’ kind of thing. That makes a real difference. Also, they all know each other so well and it is like having a bunch of friends and family on stage.

You have sung before in a choir, including with Gareth Malone for his Children In Need single…
I can hold a tune, God bless you! The great thing about being in a choir is you don’t have to be Beyoncé to sing in one! You have to be able to listen. It’s all about the blending in.

It’s your first solo Saturday night project. How are you feeling?
I am really looking forward to it but this show is not about the presenter at all. I am there to keep the whole thing going. It’s about the joy music brings.

What are the judges like?
Gareth has definitely got a Saturday night glitz about him! Kelis is so down to earth and Deke, who is helping out behind the scenes, has so much energy. He is our Zen grandmaster and there is nothing he doesn’t know about singing.

Does presenting this show make you want to sing in a choir again?
I have got some mates who are in a rock choir near where I live and I am going to investigate! I think you can do a lot worse in your week than spend an hour singing. It’s a cure for loneliness, anxiety, stress and some types of depression.

Do you hope Pitch Battle will inspire viewers?
Yes. I hope it does for choirs and singing what those other shows have done for dance. It’s also great for kids and their self-esteem. Working in a team means it is not just about you.

You have been very busy this year with Eurovision and Let’s Sing And Dance For Comic Relief amongst others. Are you planning to have a rest?!
I have got the whole summer off. I feel ok because I had a gap between this show and Let’s Sing And Dance For Comic Relief but I am also ready for a break. Eurovision was so much fun this year and Lucie Jones, the UK entry, was a real pro. She was so hard working and she had an incredible voice. But I do feel incredibly grateful to have been given all these opportunities. It’s been amazing.

Do you ever feel under pressure?
I haven’t really thought about it if I am honest. It is such a treat to do the job I do, it is all so much fun! I just keep my head down and plough on!

And finally what advice would you give the groups?
Seize the moment and enjoy it all. There is nothing like being on stage, surrounded by the love of your friends and family – I know this from being in a double act for so long!


GARETH MALONE INTERVIEW


Gareth Malone is the UK’s favourite choirmaster and has transformed the likes of military wives and NHS workers; taking unlikely groups of people and bonding them through music.

Thanks to his passionate work, Gareth has galvanized the British choral scene and brought choirs back into contemporary conversation.

Gareth was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his services to music and is a BAFTA and International Emmy Award Winner with two No.1 singles in the UK under his belt.

This is your first Saturday night entertainment show. What are you most looking forward to?
It is completely different for me but having encouraged a lot of people to join choirs and groups over the years, Pitch Battle seems the most logical progression. It’s really exciting and this show is all about vocal talent. To have Deke Sharon on board, too, is an amazing coup. What is so great about this series is the fact it is all about their voices. It is really great for me to be able to talk about their performances and give advice.

What kind of judge will you be?
All I can do is give my opinions. If a group moves me because they have got lots of heart, I will be the soft judge and say “you really moved me and it was out of tune but it moved me”, but if it didn’t move me, then I will be the technical person saying “that’s not good enough”.

Are you going to be nasty?
No. I think it is mean when people who aren’t musicians start laying into people about song choices. You don’t walk into a music career suddenly overnight as it does take dedication and lots of feedback. But I don’t want to shatter people’s dreams. I want to inspire the audience. I am going to be honest.

What advice would you give to the groups performing?
It’s a Saturday night show and you have to give your whole self. You have got to know the track inside and out and you have to deliver a great performance to the audience and judges. Music is passion.

Can you see the hunger in the contestants?
They are great and I can definitely see the hunger. They have got the best vocal coaches helping them and the atmosphere is amazing. I really do think they will all go on a huge journey taking part on this show.

Acappella is massive in the States. Do you hope this show will inspire the viewers watching it to form a group?
The misconception about this show is that it is entirely A cappella. But actually we have got country, gospel, musical theatre and choirs also taking part. It is not just a load of people from the Pitch Perfect movie as that would be a bit twee!

How are you getting on with your fellow judges?
They are really great! Mel is great, too, and we have worked together before. Mel has all that experience of putting people at ease. Her warmth is central to that. Kelis is fantastic. I predict the public are going to love her. I hope people will watch our show and think it is so much fun.

Why is Pitch Battle different to other shows?
It’s a celebration of music in a way that other shows aren’t. There is no other show where the guest judge gets up at the end and reveals which group has got to the final by singing a line of their song and walking over to them.

And finally, what else are you working on?
I am living and breathing Pitch Battle at the moment! I am on tour in the autumn. What I do now is music on TV or the stage. It’s absolutely ideal!


KELIS INTERVIEW


Kelis started out singing in choirs before embarking on her illustrious singing career which saw her nominated for Grammys, win a BRIT award and tour the world having sold millions of records across the globe.

She will really empathise with the singers on Pitch Battle, although her passion for music and singing means she won’t mince her words.

Why did you want to get involved on Pitch Battle as a judge?
I thought it would be really fun. I have hosted TV shows before but this is completely different for me. I have watched shows like this but never judged on them, only food shows.

Are you excited about being a judge?
Definitely! When you see the show, you will see that there is so much energy amongst everyone, including the judges and the whole thing just feels really good. There is a real fun vibe of people wanting to have a good time and I think it’s an amazing opportunity for everyone taking part in Pitch Battle.

What kind of judge will you be?
I am going to be honest, I’m not mean at all I promise! Everybody is looking to be a star but the great thing about Pitch Battle is that it is a team effort. Music is such a personal thing and so I think it’s important to just be very honest with everyone. You can be honest without being mean. In terms of what I am looking for, I want people to sing technically well and also, from the heart. That is really important to me.

Are you looking forward to sitting alongside Gareth on the judging panel?
For sure, he is great to hang out with and is super talkative! He is also really easy going which I love – I am really enjoying getting to know him.

What advice would you give to the contestants?
There really is one thing that stands out above everything else and that is to listen. That, for me, is vital. A lot of people will be able to sing really well but that is not enough on a show like this. You have to be able to blend in well. So my advice is listen, listen, and listen!

Does it matter if the group/choir is all male or all female?
No it doesn’t matter to me at all. Men, women, older people, it really doesn’t make a difference so long as they can find a cohesive sound. That’s the key.

You’ve had an incredible career. What are you most proud of?
To be completely honest with you I never planned for this career. For me it all started with a choir when I was 17 and it’s been crazy ever since! I love my career so much and I feel so grateful to have done the things I have done. Now I am on an awesome new BBC singing show in the UK, that was never in the plan but I am having the best time here!


DEKE SHARON INTERVIEW

Born in San Francisco, California, Deke Sharon has been performing professionally since the age of eight, and as a child toured North America and shared the stage in operas with the likes of Pavarotti.

Heralded as ‘The Father of Contemporary a cappella’, he is responsible for the current sound of modern a cappella, having created the dense vocal-instrumental sound in college, subsequently spreading it around the world.

Deke produced The Sing-Off worldwide (USA, Netherlands, China, South Africa), which had the highest ratings of any new, unscripted television show in the USA in 2009, and was the third highest rated show on NBC in 2010. In addition, Deke served as Arranger, on-site Music Director and Vocal Producer for Universal’s Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 movies starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson.

Deke is the Series Music Director for Pitch Battle.

You are the pro when it comes to a cappella music. What appealed to you about getting involved with Pitch Battle?
I love vocal music. I believe we can spread more harmony through harmony. The groups are better when there is diversity and with the powerful ballads, they do need each other.

What is it about this kind of singing that you love?
The voices are all better when they are sung together. Also there is something about these groups. The thing with amateur is it stands for love and I have seen many amateur groups perform with so much power and emotion. It is compelling and powerful for the audience.

This style of singing is big in the USA. Do you hope it will become as popular in the UK?
The Executive Producer who is overseeing this show, Karen, is a genius. She was involved with Strictly Come Dancing at the start and that is one of the biggest shows ever. When she flew to the States for lunch, I knew within five minutes I wanted to get involved in this show. My hope is Pitch Battle will start here but spread around the world because it has such big performances by the choirs, followed by the Riff-Off which nobody has done before and then ending with the celebrity guest judge. It is electric!

How are the contestants? Nervous? Competitive?
I have stressed to them that the other groups aren’t their competition. Their competition is every other show on television and every other person on the likes of YouTube. You want the group that performs before and after yours to be amazing as then we have something compelling that everyone will talk about it. Variety is what makes the show stronger. I am so pleased we have got gospel groups, show choirs, pop choirs, and cool quartets – so many different styles.

What advice would you give to the groups?
They need to know all their notes and rhythms before the show but as soon as they go in front of the cameras, they need to let go of the technical and sing from the heart. They need to connect through song and story. You have to focus on the energy. This show is going to be loved by people. There is a lot of power, character and charisma involved.

What are the judges like?
They are honest. Every judge needs to deliver positive messages as well as negative messages.

Is it true you have just finished making the third Pitch Perfect movie?
We have just wrapped number three! We made the first movie and we hoped it wouldn’t go straight to DVD. This show is going to start small on TV and then I think it is going take over like wildfire!

And finally do you want to sing again?!
I do love to sing. But as I get older, it is time to slip into the elder statesman role and help inspire others


SUPERSTAR GUEST JUDGES

Each week, Gareth and Kelis will be joined by a Superstar Guest Judge.
The guest judge is not only involved in critiquing and advising the groups throughout each episode, but at the end of each show they will join the winning choir on stage for a rendition of one of their best loved tracks.

Bebe Rexha
Bebe is no stranger to choirs, having sung in one whilst growing up and has since become one of the most sought after songwriters in the world penning hits for superstars including Eminem, Rihanna and Iggy Azalea.

Bebe is now concentrating on her own music and in the last 12 months has had a Top 10 hit with Martin Garrix with In The Name Of Love, collaborated with Nicki Minaj on her single No Broken Hearts and hosted the 2016 MTV European Music Awards.

The groups will be singing her Top 5 single Take Me Home as the Final Battle song.

Seal
Multi-awarding winning singer songwriter Seal has sold over 30 million records and is best known for international hits such as Kiss From A Rose and Crazy with a music career that has spanned three decades.

His inimitable voice was first heard on Adamski’s 1991 club smash Killer which reached number 1 in the UK charts. Another Top 10 hit Crazy arrived shortly thereafter as Seal went on to achieve global acclaim with his debut album, even winning the prestigious BRIT Award for Best British Male in 1992.

However, it was the legendary song Kiss From A Rose which turned him into an international superstar as he received three Grammy Awards in the categories of Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

The groups will be singing the choir favourite Kiss From A Rose as the Final Battle song.

Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan is one of the world’s best known and critically acclaimed soul divas, having had a career spanning over five decades, winning 10 Grammy awards, and multiple platinum selling records.

Chaka Khan is widely known as the Queen of Funk and initially achieved great success as part of the soul-funk band Rufus, including hits like Tell Me Something Good, Sweet Thing, Hollywood and the coveted Ain’t Nobody before she embarked on a solo career in the late ’70s and made waves on the charts again with tunes like I’m Every Woman, and I Feel For You. Throughout her career, Chaka has collaborated with legendary artists including Miles Davies, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and Prince. In 2011 Chaka was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has also been inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.

The groups will be singing Ain’t Nobody as the Final Battle song.

Joe Jonas
Joe Jonas has successfully transitioned from Disney Channel favourite to international superstar as the frontman of multi-platinum selling band DNCE.

Joe Jonas shot to fame as part of the boy band Jonas Brothers in 2007. Their self-titled album went double platinum and reached the Top 5 on the Billboard charts. Joe then took the lead role in Camp Rock, alongside singer Demi Lovato and his brothers. The soundtrack to the movie marked an industry first with the Jonas Brothers having three albums in the Top 10, with their follow up album A Little Bit Longer also going platinum.

In 2013, the Jonas Brothers split and Joe created a new band DNCE with his friends Jack Lawless, JinJoo Lee and Cole Whittle. Their debut single Cake By The Ocean was released in 2015 and became a huge hit around the world.

The groups will be singing the new DNCE and Nicki Minaj track Kissing Strangers as their Final Battle song.

Will Young
Will Young is one of the most well-known and recognizable figures in British contemporary music and on the performing arts scene. Since 2002 he has had a career encompassing multi-platinum albums, sell-out live tours and acting in both film and TV.

Growing up in Hungerford, West Berkshire, Will’s first taste of singing success was as a chorister at Horris Hill preparatory school. He took part in many school productions but decided to study politics at the University of Exeter before concentrating on musical theatre more full time at Arts Ed in London. He put his studies on hold in late 2001 to become a contestant on Pop Idol which he won in 2002 and went on to release his debut album From Now On – which went straight to number one. Since then he has continued to dominate the charts and has worked with a variety of artists and performed live with James Brown, Elton John and Burt Bacharach.

The groups will be singing Evergreen as their Final Battle song.

Grand Final
The Superstar Guest Judge for the Grand Final will be announced soon!


MEET THE GROUPS

The groups that are taking part across the series are the beating heart of the show.

A total of thirty musical groups from across the UK will be taking to the stage in their bid to be crowned Pitch Battle Champions 2017.

The Oxford Alternotives
A cappella group from Oxford University, who often enjoy putting their own musical twists on pop music.

Alle Choir
Polish Jazz group who came together to find friendships through music – they rehearse in their musical director’s living room, and the group includes a waitress and a pastry chef.

London International Gospel Choir
A community gospel choir, featuring a beatboxer, who provide a home away from home feeling for their international members.

Songbird Sessions
Two music teachers (one is a backing singer and the other has performed in the West End) and four of their music students – old and new.

Sgarmes
Seaside Welsh soprano, alto, tenor, bass choir from Aberystwyth with a big sound, and a soloist who wants to make music her life-long career.

The 4Tune Tellers & Kimmy
Newly formed cool vocal group who found their female beatboxer busking.

Perfect 6th
All-singing and all-dancing musical theatre students aged 17-19 from the Arts1 School of Performance in Milton Keynes.

The Savannahs
Newly formed all-female country music group who are full-time musicians, and each play the guitar.

The Bristol Suspensions
Fun a cappella students from Bristol University who are proud to say they are current International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) semi-finalists.

Over the Water
Liverpool based choir who have the oldest male singer in the series at 64 (a retired cruise ship director), who are from both sides of the Mersey.

Portsmouth University Gospel Choir
Lively and loud gospel choir from Portsmouth University whose musical director Heaven is a forensics student.

Vocal-I-Sing
A ‘triple-threat’ group of musical theatre performers who came together especially for the series.

City Academy Songbirds
Unapologetically fun, all-female, group made up of teachers, a vet and a nanny.

Soul Train
A nine piece contemporary pop vocal group from London who have sung together since childhood.

Scotsoul
Husband and wife duo who have joined forces with their oldest friends to make their kids and Loch Lomond proud.

Out Of The Blue
World renowned YouTube a cappella sensations from the Universities in Oxford.

The Flyboys
Former West End performers who put surprising vintage style twists onto pop mash-ups.

The Noteables
Fun pop/a cappella group who sing together to escape their nine to five jobs – teachers, financial advisors and a solicitor.

LMA Choir
Liverpudlian group of music students whose emotional flash mob video went viral with more than 2 million views on YouTube.

The Uptone Girls
All-female group from The University of Birmingham who want to bring some girl power to a cappella.

Leeds Contemporary Singers
Soulful 2nd and 3rd year music students and their lecturer Craig who create their own ambitious musical arrangements.

Vocally Bespoke
A 13 piece choir with a cool, urban and diverse feel from the Home Counties.

Vocal Dimension Chorus
An all-female Surrey based group of barbershop singers with bags of humour who also have the oldest member in the competition at 70 years old.

A Flame
A church gospel inspired group who met in East London who have never performed together outside of church.

All The King’s Men
King’s College London’s nine-piece a cappella group made up of former choir boys.

Vox-Xover
Classical opera crossover group made up of an engaged couple and their West End friends.

Tring Park 16
Chamber choir aged 17-18 from Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.

Crescendo
West Midlands based vocal group who rehearse in their local British Legion once a month who are huge musical theatre fans.

Vocalities
Full time music students from all over Europe who hope for long term music careers.

The Ramparts
Young male group from Ireland who want to make Barbershop cool.

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ALL CHANGE BEHIND THE SCENES ON CORRIE & EMMERDALE 35

ITV today confirmed Iain MacLeod had been appointed as the new Producer of Coronation Street, following Kate Oates’ decision to leave the soap and move into drama series production.

Kate is moving to work with ITV Studios owned label Tall Story Pictures, where she will produce the forthcoming second series of Bancroft, starring Sarah Parish.

ITV also announced that former ITV Drama Commissioner Jane Hudson has been appointed Emmerdale’s Executive Producer responsible for the future editorial and creative direction of the award-winning soap. Assistant Producer Kate Brooks becomes Producer alongside current Series Script Producer Laura Shaw who also becomes a Producer. Kate and Laura will produce blocks of episodes on a rotational basis and take responsibility for the day to day running of the programme. The Emmerdale appointments will take effect from the beginning of June, to coincide with Iain taking the helm at Coronation Street.

Kate and Iain leave their respective soaps in strong form, as each is up +5% year-on- year for volume, on both consolidated and overnights ratings. In 2018 to date, Emmerdale has increased its average audience in the consolidated ratings, pulling ahead to become the UK’s second most popular soap.

Coronation Street continues to be the UK’s most popular soap, with Good Friday’s 8:30pm episode scoring the highest rating in this slot in more than 4 years when 9.4m viewers tuned in to see Phelan confess his string of crimes to Eileen at the lighthouse. Across that week, Coronation Street delivered an impressive 40% share among 16-34s, the soap’s highest share for this demographic since just before the tram crash in 2010.

ITV Studios Creative Director for Coronation Street and Emmerdale, John
Whiston, said: “There’s a lot to praise here! Kate Oates has transformed Coronation Street during her tenure. This has been reflected both in the huge critical acclaim the show has been getting and in the ratings. We are now used to opening the overnights and seeing Coronation Street has delivered its highest ratings for many years, a herculean achievement in this box set era.

Kate has done this whilst putting on screen some groundbreaking and socially important stories such as the Bethany grooming story and David’s rape story. It is a testament to her brilliant editorial touch that these stories, though difficult, have been both credible and engaging.

Meanwhile, Kate has unleashed on us one of the finest villains in soap history with Pat Phelan and his dastardly deeds. And the show has continued day in day out to provide the viewer with top notch Corrie humour from Liz to Moira, from Steve to Tracy, from Sally to Tim. Doing all this while taking the show from 5 episodes to 6 episodes a week is a phenomenal achievement by Kate and something of which those who work on the show and those who watch it are hugely appreciative.”

On Iain MacLeod’s time at Emmerdale, John commented: “Meanwhile, over the Pennines, Emmerdale has been going through its own golden period under Iain MacLeod’s aegis. It too has built its audience volume and share. And it has delivered some truly memorable storylines. Ashley’s dementia was notable not just for the strength of the story, but for the way it was told with some soap defining drama, such as the episode all seen through Ashley’s point of view.

Equally hard hitting, though in a different way, was the multi car pile up on Hotten bypass. Emmerdale has a reputation for delivering big stunts and this one wasthe biggest and most spectacular, as well as the most intricately plotted and it came from the perfect soap brain of the supremely talented Iain MacLeod. It is no wonder Emmerdale has won pretty much a clean sweep of the awards in the last year, a run interrupted only by Coronation Street’s RTS Award.”

On Jane Hudson’s appointment John said: “Jane Hudson was the ITV Commissioner for the soaps during their recent renaissance, leaving last summer. She is the ideal person to take on the leadership of Emmerdale as she has soap running through her veins and understands and loves the genre like no other. She is also forthright and humane, both qualities needed to lead a soap these days. She has a brilliant story mind which makes me excited to see where Emmerdale will go next.”

Iain MacLeod moves to Coronation Street following his successful tenureas Producer of Emmerdale which has seen the Yorkshire based soap tackle a range of notable storylines including the recent acid attack inflicted on Ross, the reuniting of Robron following an acrimonious break up after Rebecca gave birth to Robert’s son, Seb, the realisation
that Faith Dingle has suffered a double mastectomy and Emma Barton’s demise following the death of James.

Emmerdale has also received a remarkable string of awards during Iain’s time as Producer including a BAFTA for Best Continuing Drama in 2017, the RTS Award for Continuing Drama in 2016 and 2017 and the National Television Award for Serial Drama for consecutive years in 2017 and 2018.

Prior to Iain taking his position at Emmerdale in 2015 he was Series Producer at Hollyoaks, a role he held since 2013. A former Coronation Street researcher and Story Editor from July 2009 until 2013, Iain left the programme in 2013 to join Hollyoaks and was promoted to Series Producer shortly afterwards.

Iain MacLeod added: “Working on Emmerdale at a time when it’s enjoyed such success hasbeen a total joy and I will miss the people and the place immensely – it’s a special show full of huge talent. Only Corrie could have tempted me away. It gave me my first job in TV asan assistant researcher many years ago and to be returning as producer is the fulfilment of a longstanding dream. It’ll be like a reunion with an old friend and I look forward to continuing the amazing work already being done by everyone connected with the show.”

Jane Hudson began her television career as a storyliner for Coronation Street before progressing to Script Editor. She moved to Casualty where she worked as Series Editor and Producer from 2004-2007. Jane is also a former producer of Law & Order: UK, Hustle, Waterloo Road and Robin Hood. Most recently Jane spent four years as an ITV Drama
Commissioner overseeing Coronation Street and Emmerdale from the network’s perspective. Jane joins Emmerdale from the independent television production company, Eleven, where she has been working as Executive Producer, Drama.

Jane Hudson, on her appointment as Executive Producer of Emmerdale commented: “I’m delighted to be returning to my Yorkshire roots and becoming partof the nation’s much loved soap, Emmerdale. I can’t wait to be back around the story table working with the writers on ideas that will have our audience laughing, crying, suspecting and occasionally hiding behind a cushion. I want to continue to give our loyal audience the drama they love whilst also bringing new viewers to the Dales, because believe me, there really is no better place.”

A former Producer of Radio 4’s The Archers from 2003-2010, Kate Oates has successfully produced Coronation Street since 2015. Prior to taking up the reins at Corrie, Kate produced Emmerdale from 2013-2015. She had previously worked as Coronation Street’s Assistant Producer following a stint as Emmerdale’s Story Editor. Kate leaves Coronation Street in an exceptionally good place after seeing the iconic soap transition from five to six episodes each week in September 2017.

Kate has also recently overseen an array of significantly memorable storylines including Eva and Maria’s infamous catfight following Aidan’s admission on his wedding day that he’d been in love with both women, Bethany’s grooming story, the realisation Zeedan’s wife Rana was in love with Kate, the return of Carla Conner to Coronation Street and Phelan’s reign of terror on the Weatherfield community.

Kate has also been responsible for the powerfully compelling story of David Platt’s rape, which has recently won huge praise for the soap from the audience and critics alike for tackling such difficult subject matter and raising awareness of such a devastating sexual assault. During Kate’s time as Producer Coronation Street also achieved theprestigious BAFTA Best Soap and Continuing Drama Award in 2015 and the RTS Award for Continuing Drama earlier this year.

Speaking today, Kate explained: “Being a part of Coronation Street has quite simply been one of the best experiences of my life. I am proud of the stories we have told and the impact they have had – and I’ve had a ball working with one of the best and most talented teams in television. I’ll be forever grateful for this opportunity and all it has given me; but I’m also excited to try something new. I can’t wait to make a start on Bancroft, working with the brilliant Sarah Parish and Tall Story Pictures – and I’ll continue to love watching both ITV soaps from the comfort of my sofa.

Catherine Oldfield, Creative Director at Tall Story Pictures says: “Kate Brooke and I are delighted that Kate has chosen Bancroft 2 as her first production after her fantastic run at Corrie. Kate has shown how brilliantly she delivers stories that thrill and surprise ITV audiences. We can’t wait to work with her.”

On Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw’s appointments as Emmerdale Producers John Whiston said: “Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw are both exceptional at what they do. Whilst they’ve worked on Emmerdale the show has been its best ever. They are both really good people who foster a supportive working atmosphere in which people who work for them thrive. Their appointments are a tribute to them and to the show for being the sort of place where good people do good and prosper. All in all, a top new team for Britain’s top soaps.”

SUPERSTAR DJ AVICII FOUND DEAD AGED 28 38

The Swedish-born producer and DJ known as Avicii has been found dead in Oman.

Publicist Diana Baron said in a statement that the 28-year-old DJ, born Tim Bergling, was in Muscat, Oman.

“The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time,” the statement said.

Avicii was a pioneer of the contemporary Electronic Dance Movement and a rare DJ capable of worldwide arena tour. He won two MTV Music Awards, one Billboard Music Award and earned two Grammy nominations. His biggest hit was “Levels.”

His death comes just days after he was nominated for a Billboard Music Award for top dance/electronic album for his EP “Avicii (01).”

His hits include “Wake Me Up!” ”The Days” and “You Make Me.” He is the subject of the 2017 Levan Tsikurishvil documentary “Avicii: True Stories.”

Avicii had in the past suffered acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking. After having his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014, he canceled a series of shows in attempt to recover. He quit touring in 2016 but continued making music in the studio.

“It’s been a very crazy journey. I started producing when I was 16. I started touring when I was 18. From that point on, I just jumped into 100 percent,” Avicii told Billboard magazine in 2016.

“When I look back on my life, I think: whoa, did I do that? It was the best time of my life in a sense. It came with a price – a lot of stress a lot of anxiety for me – but it was the best journey of my life.”