I Dream is the latest brainchild of 19 Management and Simon Fuller. Following from the success of the S Club 7 TV series, which went on to global success, is CBBCís I Dream. Featuring S Club 8 alongside the 5 main characters Felix, Ollie, Kush, Natalie and Amy. The program is set in Avalon Heights, an imaginary Sylvia Young style stage school in Barcelona whose former students include Robbie Williams and Elton John. Designer Magazine caught up with George Wood who plays tough posh boy Ollie.
Q: We saw the first episode of I Dream last week. For people who havenít seen the program yet in short itís a musical drama. Fill our readers in.
A: Itís the style of TV that S Club 7 used to do, basically a musical drama. Itís set in a school for performers called Avalon Heights and the idea is that this school has an intake every year of the most gifted performers in Britain. The series charts these 5 guys, who are 2 boys and 3 girls, that are given the opportunity to spend the summer in the school. Weíre invited by Professor Toon, the owner of the school, and weíre very aware that this school has got an illustrious history Ė Robbie Williams, Elton John Ė everyone has passed through the school without anyone knowing, itís sort of a secret school.
The show just charts our summer as we learn how to be stars Ė performers, singers, actors, everything. Itís great. Every episode has a couple of pop songs in it and a story line that we play out. Itís got Christopher Lloyd in it who was the Doc in Back To Future!!!
Q: We donít have enough musical dramas on TV do we?
A: I was thinking. Thereís nothing else out there like it. Fame was a bit before my time, but people tell me this is what Fame was like. So I guess this is a modern day Fame.
Q: Do you remember when Home & Away toured the Musical version over here in the UK. If I remember correctly they were trying to save the Diner from being demolished or something.
A: I remember Bobby, didnít she get shot or something. And I canít help but laugh about when they changed over Pippaís Ė one day she came back and she looked totally different (laughs). But I canít believe they did a musical version. Why didnít I know about it? I would have so gone and seen it cos I was such a fan at the time.
Q: Seeing as you missed the great Home & Away - The musical. Which soap or TV program would you like to see turned into a musical?
A: I liked Home & Away, but I was always a bigger Neighbours fan actually. That would be great to see Harold singing in the shop and Lou doing his Sid Williams thing.
Q: Back from Musical Soaps to I Dream. Your character Ollie, heís the posh guy of the show I guess.
A: He is. His background is a public schoolboy. The good thing is that when you first get to know him he seems like typical posh boy and as you see in the first episode he has a bit of a confidence crisis, he doesnít think heís cut out for this sort of life. As the series goes on you get to see that heís got a bit of steely interior, heís a bit more determined than you think and heís a stronger personality and is not just a posh geek. As the series goes on he turns into a really popular character. Heís got a real determination about him and when heís challenged he gets into a few arguments with people and he can actually stand up for himself, heís not just a bit of a walk over. Heís a posh boy with a different Ė a tough posh boy if you like.
Q: How much is George like Ollie?
A: I didnít go to a public school, but I went to a good grammar school and did the whole education thing. Iíd like to think Iím not quite as geeky. Iím pretty similar though cos Iím seen as the nice one who doesnít get into arguments. I think Ollieís a bit more of a fighter than I am I suppose. Playing Ollie wasnít too much of a stretch of my acting skills I suppose.
Q: Where will we know George Wood from in the past? Whatís your history?
A: Iíve been acting all my life. Iíve tried to do a range of stuff. I did Oliver in the West End. I did a film, Annie 2, the sequel to Annie (the film about the girl with the dog). It was made by Columbia Tristar. Then I tried my hand at presenting for a couple of years and I was the presenter on The Disney Club every Sunday morning for two years.
Q: Weíve seen the show and the new characters look quite a bit older than S Club 8. How old are you all supposed to be and how was it for the 2 groups to get on together?
A: In real life the age difference is quite a bit really. S Club 8 the age range goes from Hannah who is 13 up to Aaron who is 16. And the five new guys I think the rest of them are all 17 and Iím 22 so thereís a bit of an age different. I still look young and feel 17 so itís not too much to put myself in that mindset.
It was funny. I remember on the first day I didnít really know too much about S Club 8, I hadnít got any of their music and I didnít really know who they were. The first day they told us youíve got to be prepared to dance so donít turn up dressed too smartly. So we came along in our tracksuit bottoms and what not and in come S Club 8 dressed as absolute gods looking so cool and looking like a pop group. To be honest though they were instantly likeable and really nice guys. Weíd do these team bonding exercises for the first week, but it was the lunch time that got us together and bonded us over a sandwich and a cup of tea. Now I consider them really good mates.
Q: You filmed the show out in Barcelona. Were you the only one old enough to experience the nightlife?
A: Itís just the best city. Youíve got a great beach, great shopping, and great nightlife. Everything going for it really. I think I probably was the only one old enough to experience the nightlife, but obviously I didnít go out by myself. We did lots of nights where weíd go out for dinner and the crew were obviously older and able to go out and have a good time.
Q: And in true musical TV drama style thereís an album on the way.
A: Yeah, thatís one of the things Iím most excited about. When I got the job they were talking about the pop songs and I was thinking theyíre going to be the cheesiest songs ever. But thatís the thing Iíve been most impressed with. I really rate the music. Whatís good is because the 5 main cast are all quite different characters and then youíve got S Club 8 as well it means theyíve gone to the songwriters and said write any style of music. When they hear the album theyíre going to hear that every song is a different style. Theyíre a few cheesy upbeat pop songs, but theyíre some real R&B tunes, love songs, hard edged dance music and each song goes with the different characters in the show.
Q: Christopher Lloyd sung a song in the first episode. Was that mad meeting him because everyone knowís Back To The Future.
A: Youíd think. Except S Club 8. They must be the only people in the world who donít know what Back To The Future was. They didnít quite know who he was and they weíre he looks so familiar, he looks like the guy in the Addams Familys...and itís like he was Ė he was in the Adams Family Movie. I made them watch the Back To The Future DVD trilogy and then suddenly it clicked with them that it was the Doc.
Q: Finally what is the future for I Dream. Is it going to be like the S Club shows where each series you move to a different city?
A: At the moment thereís just this 1st series and if itís successful hopefully theyíll be a 2nd and 3rd. They could easily do another series because having this school they could always say theyíre taking the students out on a field trip or something.
I Dream is broadcast on CBBC Wednesday afternoons and Sunday Morning
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