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Lights, Camera, Magic!

In 1995, Pozzitive was approached by Mike Leggo at Unique TV to enter a co-production for a massive multi-national show to be made by Disney to coincide with the launch of their Studios Park in France. The idea was a mixture of documentary, concert and feelgood fairy story, and the line-up already included Destiny's Child and Britney Spears.

The idea behind the show was already complex, involving taking four (real life) children who had done something particularly heroic or noteworthy and bringing them to the theme park for a special day, “meeting all the stars”. What made it complicated beyond belief was we were to make five different versions - for Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany and Belgium/Holland. In France. And not just overdubbed in different languages, but five actual separate programmes, shooting five sets of children, five presenters, five sets of actors, five lots of links and five scripts.

Sorry, not five, six. Because we had to make an “international” version as well, not specific for any country. Six.

It was two months of unbridled hilarity, shuttling backwards and forwards on the Eurostar about twenty times. All the broadcasting regulations were different; in the UK (on Channel 5), British rules meant that you could neither say the word “Disney” nor even have a shot of the entrance gates, which had a wrought-iron Mickey Mouse embedded in the pattern. On the other hand, for the Italian version, there was a lady from Disney standing by the camera at all times to check that we were putting the word “Disney” into the script enough.

The storylines grew immensely complex, and all the links took totally different times to say once translated, the Italians in particular being blameworthy for their long extended but delightful-to-listen-to intros. The Germans were delightful, the Spanish took great pleasure in smoking assiduously wherever they could see a No Smoking sign, and to cap it all, there was great tension between the Dutch and the Belgian broadcasters, climaxing in a phone call where we had to personally assure the Belgian executives that to aid comprehensibility, the Dutch presenter would speak with a South Dutch accent rather than a North Dutch accent, an assurance we were very happy to give, despite our utter lack of knowledge of any Dutch accents whatsoever.

In the end, the show got shot (five times), edited (five times) and (presumably) transmitted five times, to Disney’s satisfaction, and a grand time was had by all. Along the way, we’d filmed Destiny’s Child, S Club, Westlife, Britney Spears, Cuba Gooding Jr, Eddie Irving, Andrea Bocelli, David Hasselhoff (who was a complete gent), Carol Smilie and a number of her charming foreign equivalents, plus Belgium’s biggest popstar (who’s name escapes us).

Plus we’d gone on all the rides about a hundred times. And argued with our French “hosts” pretty much the same number of times also.

And the stunt show is brilliant.

Lights, Camera, Magic!

 First Tx: 1/9/1995 Channel 5

Presented by -
UKCarol Smilie
GermanyAlexandra Bechtel
Belgium/HollandIrene Moors
Koen Wauters
ItalyMilly Carlucci
SpainPatricia Conde
and starringDestiny's Child
Britney Spears
Cuba Gooding Jr
Eddie Irving
Andrea Bocelli
David Hasselhoff
in the UKS Club
in GermanyBro’Sis
in Belgium/HollandMarco Borsato
in ItalyEros Ramazzoti
in SpainRosario Flores
and featuring as "The Director"
in the UKMac McDonald
in GermanyErich Redman
in Belgium/HollandLex van Delden
in ItalyMarcello Magni
And the voices of -
in GermanyBritta Gartner
Michael Schurmann
in Belgium/HollandFran Canals
in ItalyBenedetta Ferraro
Romolo Bruni
in SpainXevi Fernandez
Pilar Orto
Mariluz Rodrigo

Production Runner
Emily Whinnett

Production Secretary
Victoria Moss

Production Coordinator
Karenann Cranston

Script Supervisor
Corinne Davies

Stage Manager
Shona Penman

Floor Manager
Anna Heighway
Phil Davies
Michael Matheson
Alan Conley

Holly Bigsby
Ben Stevens
Edward St Giles
Carla De Nicola
Alexandra Kalkofen
Jane Dancey

Assistant Production Manager
David Freeman

Production Manager
Alan Sandbrook
Polly Sheldon

Associate Producers
Sally Wood
Rebecca Bayatti
Claire Houdret (France)
Tara Byrne (Italy)
Maddy Allen (Germany)
Tamara Eichhorn

Camera Supervisor
Tony Keene
Adam Gordon

Transport Captain
Charlene Farrell

VT Editor
Mark Wybourn
John Sillito

OB Unit Manager
Bill Morris

Marcia Stanton

Make Up
Wendy Brown
Sarah Exley

Lighting Designer
Mark Kenyon
Chris Kempton

Set Designer
John McHugh

Stage Director
Kim Gavin

Production Executive
Vijay Amarnani

Executive Producer
Michael Leggo
Michael Hurll

Executive Producer For Disney
Jed Leventhall
Barrie Westwell

Story Producer
Martin Dance

Directed byGeoff Posner
Produced byGeoff Posner
David Tyler

Lights, Camera, Magic!

Click here to find out more about the Disney Studio Park ... and the Stunt Show is, as we mentioned, still ruddy good

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