The BBC has confirmed that viewers of the upcoming talent show I'd Do Anything will not be able to choose the young star who will tread the West End boards as Oliver.

The new show will see a host of hopefuls bidding to win the lead role in the Lionel Bart musical and rising actresses attempting to secure the part of Nancy during the new BBC1 Saturday night show.

But while audiences played an integral part in helping Lee Mead and Connie Fisher to victory in Any Dream Will Do and How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, it has now been confirmed that the final casting choice to play Oliver Twist will be made by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, rather than the public.

A BBC statement explained that because "Oliver is played by a minor, his role will not be open to the public vote".

"This decision was taken by the BBC following expert advice in providing a duty of care to child contributors," it continued.

"We want all the boys to gain as much from this experience as possible, and enable them to learn as much about musical theatre as they can over the course of the series."

Graham Norton, set to host the show which begins this Saturday (March 15th) told the BBC he "wouldn't feel comfortable" putting the 12 young contestants through the pressure of a public vote.

"Those little boys are tough as old boots but, to see them on television, they just look very vulnerable," he said.

"To have a little boy sobbing would be quite upsetting."

Viewers will however be able to vote for their favoured Nancy, with 14p from each phone vote going towards the BBC Performing Arts Fund.

13/03/2008 11:17:29