03/11/2012 01:48 | By Adam Postans, contributor, MSN TV

TV review: Jonathan and Charlotte definitely on song

Reviewed: Britain's Got Talent opera duo Jonathan and Charlotte get their own - predictable - TV show.

Jonathan and Charlotte (© Jonathan and Charlotte. Image ITV)


Britain's Got Talent 2012 runners-up Jonathan and Charlotte in their rather inevitable ITV1 documentary/advertorial.


Popstar To Operastar judge Rolando Villazón's masterclass for the pair.


The blatant album plugging, and a missed opportunity to explore Jonathan's battle with depression.

Full review

Half of the £500,000 first prize on this year's Britain's Got Talent, we were told time and again by Ant and Dec, was put up personally by Simon Cowell, out of the goodness of his heart.

What a guy! That's one heck of a load of Pedigree Chum for the winner Pudsey the dancing dog.

So it's just as well Simon had first refusal on the other acts, like operatic musical crossover runners-up Jonathan and Charlotte. They were duly signed to his record label Syco within hours of the final in May.

"It's just as well Simon had first refusal on the other acts"

You'll no doubt remember Jonathan, an overweight 16-year-old with long curly hair who was almost mocked off stage by Cowell before he could unleash his extraordinary vocal chords.

And partner Charlotte, who the music mogul suggested should take a hike.

Well, if you're suffering talent show-contestant amnesia (it happens to us all as there are so many of them on TV now), ITV1 provided an in-depth reminder at the start of this reality documentary.

Jonathan and Charlotte do Europe

We followed the two teenagers prior to the launch of their debut album (available in all good record shops and download places, folks) on a grand tour of Europe.

They stopped off in Monte Carlo to perform, bizarrely, a Take That cover in a foreign language, they visited Luciano Pavarotti's tomb in Modena, Italy, and had a musical masterclass from Pavarotti's singing coach Leone Magiera in Bologna and another one courtesy of Popstar to Operastar judge Rolando Villazón in Paris.

"He's already the finished article."

After performing basic musical scales, Jonathan was told by Magiera: "I have nothing to do."

More scales in Paris - there were more scales on this show than an average aquarium - and Villazón marvelled: "I will say nothing. That was fantastic." Thanks for coming, basically.

He's already the finished article.

Charlotte, naturally, was a different story, for she readily admits not having a voice for opera, trained as she is in musical theatre. The fact she didn't actually hit the right notes failed to change the impression that she's very much the junior partner here.

This was all interspersed with interviews of the duo in their (separate) bedrooms because, as narrator Hugh Bonneville reminded us, they're just normal kids.

We also heard from their friends, family, former singing teacher, and Amanda Holden, who always shows up at these ITV gigs.

What we didn't see very much was actual singing. This show also missed an opportunity to present a proper delve into how the friendship was forged.

What's more, it glossed over Jonathan's battle with depression. "They were horrifically dark times," he revealed, in the only candid moment.

But while his mum said only Jonathan knew how bad his school life had been (to the point where he'd dropped out completely), either the lad himself wasn't forthcoming in that painful recollection or the producers decided it might get in the way of talking about THE NEW ALBUM.

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  1. 84 %
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Yes, they have a new album out.

That was the sole purpose of this hour which also included Syco supremo Simon Cowell gushing over them: "They sound like proper singers. They don't sound like competition winners making a record," he said. Which is probably because they didn't win the competition. Ashleigh and Pudsey did.

Still, Jonathan and Charlotte's sales might just make up for that generous £250,000 donation, eh, Simon? Especially with a little help from ITV and a primetime show.

It's hard to begrudge anything that comes Jonathan and Charlotte's way. Unlike most of the people at the centre of this particular television format, they do have an actual talent. And there is a story to be told here.

But however pleasant a watch this hour-long commercial was, it remains a shame that its content was driven by the album, and not the singers behind it.

  • Verdict: You'll root for the kids. Maybe enough to buy their album.

    Star grade

What other reviews say

The Guardian - "It's oddly quite moving and lovely (even though the record they've made sounds truly ghastly)."

What people on Twitter said

@robjlight - "Enjoyed #Jonathanandcharlotte doc, haven't watched Friday TV for ages!"

@willow_32 - "Jonathan & Charlotte are just gorgeous! Such talent between them and so humble with it. I wish them all the success!"

The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft

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