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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 15:54 GMT
BBC snaps up Jerry Springer opera
Jerry Springer - The Opera
The musical is based on the Jerry Springer TV talkshow
Jerry Springer The Opera - starring a baritone in nappies - is to be shown on BBC Two.

The cult musical, which is known for its bad language, sex and violence, will be broadcast in January.

Franny Moyle, head of BBC arts commissioning, said it was part of the BBC's strategy to introduce a new generation of viewers to opera.

The BBC have also commissioned six comedy operas from the makers of the hit West End show.

We've been after Jerry Springer for quite a long time because it felt so fresh and modern, cheeky and witty
Franny Moyle, BBC arts commissioner

Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas have been asked to create the made-for-television operas based on contemporary television styles such as news, history and reality television.

Moyle said the new commissions were part of a wider brief to "revive and reinvigorate the arts" and make them more accessible.

She said: "We've been after Jerry Springer for quite a long time because it felt so fresh and modern, cheeky and witty.

"But I'm particularly concerned that we develop stuff that's bespoke to television."

A spokeswoman from BBC Two said the language featured in the Jerry Springer musical "'will not be to everyone's taste" but stressed it will be broadcast well after the watershed and warnings would be given.

Award-winning show

She said: "Audiences expect BBC Two to bring them challenging work from the worlds of art and culture and we feel it would be wrong to censor this award-winning piece."

Jerry Springer The Opera premiered at Battersea Arts Centre, south London in 2002, before becoming a big hit at the National Theatre.

After an extended run, it transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in November 2003.

It is due to open on Broadway in October 2005.

The show - which is based on the Jerry Springer US talkshow - has picked up a plethora of awards since its debut, including best musical at the Olivier Awards, the Critics' Circle Awards and the Evening Standard Awards.

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