The Speaker



Voiceover: Jane Horrocks


Judges: Jo Brand, Jeremy Stockwell and John Amaechi


BBC Manchester for BBC Two, 7 to 29 April 2009 (8 episodes in 1 series)


A competition to find the best young speaker, in eight episodes. The first two were the usual sort of audition footage we've come to expect from such heavyweight shows as The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent, and People's Quiz.

Once the finalists were known, the programme found its rhythm. The remaining competitors would be taken somewhere, to meet their mentor, someone good at public speaking. Newsreader Kate Silverton, Deborah Meaden from Dragons' Den, and the Earl Spencer all acted in this role. The contestants were given two speaking tasks, on which they were judged, and from which they received constructive criticism from their mentor. Then it was back to the hall, where the three weakest candidates would make a further speech in front of the mentor and the recurring judges.

The scale of the challenges increased during the series: from appearing at Speaker's Corner in London to a full-scale news report, addressing the BBC's network of big screens in city centres, and culminating in a trip to see charity work in Malawi.

Jo Brand in a children's game show know, for kids.


Duncan Harrison

Web links

BBC programme page

See also

Weaver's Week review

Off By Heart, a poetry recital contest


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