Fame Academy

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BBC (ended 2003)

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Fame Academy

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Launching in 2002, Fame Academy was the BBC's first attempt at an ongoing reality TV show. Hosted by Cat Deeley and Patrick Kielty, the show followed nine budding singer-songwriters, plus an extra contestant chosen by the public, who spent ten weeks in a camera-filled mansion. The students spent their time in the Academy in vocal coaching, dancing lessons, as expert tutors Carrie Grant, Kevin Adams and Pam Sheyne taught the pop wannabes all they needed to know about the world of showbiz. However, each week, the tutors picked three students who were not making the grade. These contestants then sang for survival live on BBC One, and the public were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite. The other contestants then decided who, out of the remaining two, should stay for another week, while for one unlucky contestant, life in the Academy was over. David Sneddon won Season One of Fame Academy, winning a £1 million record contract, a new car, a luxury flat, and a holiday in the Carribbean. 3.6 million people voted for him in the final, and he beat off competition from the other two finalists - Lemar Obika and Sinead Quinn. The show was expected to be a ratings success, as it was essentially a cross between Pop Idol and Big Brother, which had been past hits in the UK. However, Fame Academy was not the success that the BBC had hoped - however, despite not being able to reach the ratings heights of Pop Idol, over the weeks it built up a loyal audience and was labelled a success by the BBC. After the success of Comic Relief Does Fame Academy - a celebrity version of the show for Comic Relief - the BBC decided to bring the show back for a second series, with some changes. In the second series of the show, the probation system was scrapped - and instead, all of the contestants sang for survival each week. David Grant joined the show as a second vocal coach, Robin Gibb was an extra judge for the live shows, while songwriting teacher Pam Sheyne did not return, and the role of dancing tutor Kevin Adams was reduced. The reality TV element of the show was essentially axed - with highlight shows only airing on digital channel BBC Three - instead, Fame Academy aired on Saturday nights, for live episodes only. After each live show, the public were asked to vote for the contestant that they wanted to save. In the results show, the three contestants with the least votes from the public were left at the mercy of the judges, who were asked to save one contestant (Headteacher Richard Park had two votes). The contestants then voted on who they would like to save, and the remaining contestant had to leave the Academy. The second series also failed to reach the ratings that the BBC had hoped for, and received a lot of bad press for directly clashing with Pop Idol on Saturday nights. Perhaps the one aspect of the show that was reported on the most was the ongoing feud between presenter Patrick Kielty and Headteacher Richard Park. As Richard's criticisms of the contestants became increasingly harsh, Patrick decided that it was his responsibility to stick up for the Fame Academy wanabees. After Patrick undermined Richard one time too many, Richard told Patrick (and the television audience) that he was sick of his attitude, "So just you button it." The pair came to blows on a regular basis in the weeks following Richard's outburst. Alex Parks won Season Two of the show, narrowly beating runner-up Alistair Griffin, and Carolynne Good, who came third. There are currently no plans for a third series of Fame Academy, however a new series of the celebrity version will air next year.

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David Sneddon

David Sneddon

Himself (Season One, Winner, Days 12-71)

Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb

Panelist (Season Two)

Cat Deeley

Cat Deeley

Presenter 2002+

Alistair Griffin

Alistair Griffin

Himself (Season Two)

Carrie Grant

Carrie Grant

Vocal Coach

Alex Parks

Alex Parks

Herself (Season Two - Winner)

Tuesday
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Wednesday
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Thursday
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    Game Show, Reality