Stars in Their Eyes
Chris Tarrant (non-broadcast pilot)
Leslie Crowther (1990-2)
Russ Abbott (1993: Elvis special)
Matthew Kelly (1993-2004)
Davina McCall (2003: stand-in)
Cat Deeley (2003: stand-in, 2004-6: permanent)
Harry Hill (2015)
Granada in association with J. E. Entertainment and Action Time for ITV, 21 July 1990 to 23 December 2006 (166 epsiodes in 16 series + 49 specials)
Initial (an Endemol company) for ITV, 10 January 2015 to present
as Star in Their Eyes: Kids, 21 July 2001 (Pilot)
31 August 2002 to 18 March 2006 (Series: 33 episodes in 4 series)
Singer impersonation show. Five people who think they sound like a musical star talk to Matthew about their job, their life and the universe. They then go through the "star door" and (kaboom!) after a few dry ice clouds they suddenly become the star of their choosing. You don't see the bit where they're done up in Make-Up for an hour but still...
They then give a performance sounding like the star of their choice. Of the five, an average of two or three will be people you're guaranteed to have never heard of, the audience has never heard of (but will clap exactly four bars into their song regardless) and the producers have never heard of, but the performances are usually of a high standard.
At the end of the show, the audience votes for whoever they thought was best, the winners going through to the live grand final. In the live grand final, the 9 heat winners (12 from 1996-9, 10 from 2000-6) each sing live on television and there is an hour-long phone poll to decide the winner.
Often, record companies watching the show ring up offer contracts to certain contestants and aren't told about it until their amount of votes is read out in the results show. The winners are always the bloke playing Marti Pellow from Wet Wet Wet (even if he isn't actually in the final) and BT who take over a million 0898 calls.
A fixture of Saturday nights for donkey's years, Stars in Their Eyes fell off our screens in 2006. No-one much missed the show at the time, but repeats showed it could still bring in an audience. After ITV decided not to pursue the talent show Rising Star, the old faithful Stars in Their Eyes was recommissioned in 2015. Comedian Harry Hill took over the host's duties, and steered the show in a new direction. It became a vehicle for his trademark anarchic humour, all slapstick and sketches with very little singing. Unfortunately, this outraged many viewers who were fans of the original and ratings soon plummeted from 3.41m to 1.86m in the first four weeks alone.
A special show in 1998 allowed celebrities to become other celebrities (confused?) for a night. It's fair to say there were some surprises.
Tricia Penrose (actress from Heartbeat) portrayed Lisa Stansfield; Frank Skinner (comedian) was Elvis Costello; Carol Vorderman (Countdown) became Cher, Steven Houghton (from drama series London's Burning) was Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley. Five of the cast of supersoap Coronation Street became The Spice Girls.
There have been several more of these since then.
"Tonight (host's name), I'm going to be..."
Based on Joop van den Ende's Dutch format, The Soundmixshow.
Ray Monk, who was also the show's musical director for many years.
The finals during Leslie Crowther's era were pre-recorded.
Peter Dickson temporarily replaced Andrew Brittain as announcer when the live final and a celebrity special both had to be relocated to BBC Television Centre because of an asbestos outbreak at Granada's Manchester studios where the show was usually recorded.
Matthew Kelly was inititally hired as caretaker host following Leslie's car accident in 1992, but became permanent when Leslie was unable to return and later died in 1996.
For the first four series (1990-3) the shows were 30 minutes each. From 1994, the shows were 45 minutes each and also filmed profiles of the star guests were added.
In 1994, Greg Bannis landed the job of lead singer of Hot Chocolate after appearing on the show as the group's former lead singer Errol Brown. He stayed with them until 2010.
When repeated on the Challenge channel, an episode from series 3 was skipped because apparantly, a contestant was in the form of Gary Glitter.
|1990||Maxine Barrie||Shirley Bassey|
|1991||Bernard Wenton||Nat "King" Cole|
|1992||Amanda Normansell||Patsy Cline|
|1993||Jacquii Cann||Alison Moyet|
|1994||John Finch||Marti Pellow|
|1995||Lee Griffiths||Bobby Darin|
|1996||Paul Doody||Marti Pellow|
|1997||Faye Dempsey||Olivia Newton-John|
|1998||Jason Searle||Neil Diamond|
|1999||Ian Moor||Chris De Burgh|
|2000||Garry Mullen||Freddie Mercury|
|2000*||Nicola Kirsch||Maria Callas (*Millennium special show)|
|2001||Emma Wilkinson||Dusty Springfield|
|2002||Stewart Duff||Elvis Presley|
|2004||Charles Ngandwe||Paul Robeson|
|2005||Gordon Hendricks||Elvis Presley|
Champion of Champions
1999 Ian Moor as Chris De Burgh
Stars in Their Eyes: Kids
|2002||Charlotte Geffen||Eva Cassidy|
|2003||Laura Jenkins||Connie Francis|
|2004||Paul Cowperthwaite||Michael Jackson|
|2006||Christopher Napier||George Formby|
Harry Hill's Stars in Their Eyes
2015: Peter Sarsfield as Frankie Valli
Stars in Their Eyes (CD)
A fan page (Blimey, someone's impersonating us!)
Weaver's Week review of the 2015 Harry Hill revival.