LATEST: Connie Fisher was chosen by British TV viewers on Saturday (16SEP06) to star as MARIA in SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber's new The Sound Of Music stageshow in London. The 23-year-old beat off competition from thousands of hopefuls to triumph on the TV talent contest HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA?, and will appear alongside British actor SIMON SHEPHERD and opera star LESLEY GARRETT in the revival of the RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN musical. Fisher was both Lord Lloyd-Webber and the British public's choice on Saturday as she easily triumphed over losing finalists SIOBHAN DILLON and HELENA BLACKMAN with the majority of the two million votes cast by viewers. She says, "I cannot believe it. It's like I've woken up on a different planet. Helena put up such a fight, didn't she? She's come from strength to strength and I thought there was no way in a million years I was going to win it. "I always hoped that people would see Maria in me, because I've always been told, 'You're such a Maria.' Some people have told me, 'If there is one role for you it is Maria Von Trapp,' so here I am. "I've grown up with it. My favourite musical films when I was younger were The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. I was a big Julie Andrews fan and there's always been a bit of Julie in me." Understudy EMMA WILLIAMS will perform two out of the musical's eight planned weekly performances, with Fisher onstage for the other six when the production opens in November (06). Despite criticism, producer DAVID IAN has defended this policy as normal musical practice.