FEATURE: Got It Covered: BBC Children in Need and the Celebrity Cover Version



Got It Covered

BBC Children in Need and the Celebrity Cover Version


A really interesting project has come out…


 IN THIS PHOTO: Former Doctor Who lead David Tennant and the current Doctor Jodie Whittaker have contributed songs to the BBC Children in Need: Got It Covered album/PHOTO CREDIT: BBC

to raise money for BBC Children in Need. I am not usually a fan of songs that joins together a bunch of celebrities; covering a familiar song and leaving things at that. Normally, the song chosen is quite Pop-based and it doesn’t really surpass the original. I know the aim is to raise money, so one can have few objections to any song that comes out. I guess Live Aid sort of kicked off the phenomenon of uniting some famous faces to perform a popular song. Now, for this year’s BBC Children in Need, there is an album that is worth some pennies. BBC Children in Need: Got It Covered finds actors like Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Colman give their take on track we all know and love. Here are some more details:

BBC Children in Need: Got It Covered is a brand new venture from BBC One and BBC Children in Need for 2019 which involves some of the UK’s biggest names from stage and screen as they band together to produce an entire album of cover songs whilst helping to make a positive difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people throughout the UK.

A whole host of critically-acclaimed actors have volunteered their time to play a special part in this incredibly exciting project for BBC Children in Need - HELENA BONHAM CARTER CBE, JIM BROADBENT, OLIVIA COLMAN CBE, SHAUN DOOLEY, LUKE EVANS, SURANNE JONES, ADRIAN LESTER, HIMESH PATEL, DAVID TENNANT and JODIE WHITTAKER.

A special 60-minute programme follows the entire recording process and explores all the behind-the-scenes action as the actors face the challenging task of laying down their bespoke tracks at the legendary RAK Studios and Abbey Road Studios in London”.

1. Olivia Colman - Glory Box

2. Adrian Lester - I Wish

3. Jodie Whittaker - Yellow

4. Luke Evans - Smile

5. Suranne Jones and Half Moon Theatre - Symphony

6. Shaun Dooley and Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Never Grow Up

7. Himesh Patel - All These Things That I've Done

8. Jim Broadbent - Blue Moon

9. Helena Bonham Carter - Both Sides Now

10. David Tennant - Sunshine On Leith

11. The Actors - It Must Be Love”.

I would not normally write a feature about a BBC Children in Need project, but I am intrigued by the new album and the fact there are some really food interpretations. I know Olivia Colman can sing but have a listen to her take on Portishead’s Glory Box and it is almost as good as the original! Himesh Patel’s take on All These Things That I've Done (by The Killers) is brilliant, and David Tennant gives a new spin on Sunshine on Leith. There are a few misses on the album, but that is all part of the fun! I am not sure how BBC Children in Need decided upon the celebrities they would use, but there is a nice selection. Maybe the sole intention of this album was to raise money - which is fair enough -, yet there are some potential artists in the fray.

When we look at actors who have transitioned into music, the list is pretty short! Apart from folks like Alexander Armstrong and Jeff Goldblum, there are not that many crossing disciplines. This article from last year shows that there are actors who are musicians/want to become one. I do think we get snooty when it comes to actors and celebrities having musical aspirations. Maybe there is a similar sense of reservation regarding artists turning to the acting world too. I do like what is bubbling in the music world right now; I do think there is something missing. Perhaps recruiting actors into the music world is not the cure, but I think albums like BBC Children in Need: Got It Covered are a start. I know those on the album were nervous about recording their songs, as it is a new world for them and different from their usual jobs. What has come from the album are a few revelations. I think Olivia Colman could succeed in music and definitely has a voice that warrants greater exposure. Even though actors like Helena Bonham Carter have sung before, she proves herself to be a fine interpreter – her take on Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell is pretty decent. Have a listen to the album and you will find a lot of great songs that go beyond novelty. There have been cases where actors and non-musicians have successfully adapted.

The main objective of this feature was to promote the BBC Children in Need album, but I have been listening and think there are a few names that could well do well in a musical setting – if not a conventional album, they could step into musicals or add another string to their bow. In many ways, it is almost harder covering a huge song that writing an original, when it is unique and there is nothing to compare it to. It sounds like the BBC Children in Need: Got It Covered project was enriching for all those concerned, and I hope some of the contributors work together in a musical setting. Make sure you get the BBC Children in Need album so they can raise as much money as possible. I keep listening to the songs on the album and they are getting stronger. It is a solid collection of songs and contributors which makes me wonder whether there are other actors/celebrities who could genuinely succeed and survive in music. I do think music is at its strongest when it is varied and throws up surprises. I think it is great there is a whole album out this year to support BBC Children in Need, rather than the one track. Cover versions are always tricky and, whilst there are a few bouncing about, I would like to see more artists new and existing tackle older songs. In any case, I do feel like the BBC Children in Need: Got It Covered is a great project, and it also uncovers some hidden vocal gems. I do wonder whether we will see some resultant albums come from Himesh Patel or Luke Evans? That would definitely be…     

 IN THIS PHOTO: Olivia Colman and Pudsey/PHOTO CREDIT: BBC