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British 'Operatunity' reality TV series turns opera into a hit

UPI News Service, 12/29/2004 

The story of a blind mother and a grocery clerk whose dreams of singing opera came true on a British reality TV show is headed to the big screen.

International broadcasters also were bidding for the TV rights to Channel 4's "Operatunity," the Times of London reported. A record 2 million viewers watched Denise Leigh, a blind mother of three, and Jane Gilchrist, a checkout clerk at Tesco, perform "Rigoletto" at the English National Opera.

Harbour Pictures has bought movie rights from the show's creators, Diverse TV.

The show's popularity bred spin-offs, including "Musicality," in which a teacher, waitress and plumber's assistant starred in "Chicago." Diverse plans to turn that series into a Broadway musical. Miramax owns the rights to "Chicago" and could co-produce the musical and a subsequent film. American broadcasters were bidding for TV rights, the newspaper said.

A third series was being planned to train underprivileged youngsters as ballet dancers.

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Copyright 2004 by United Press International

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