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Let It Shine: BBC responds to complaints over winners' 'small roles'

Gemma Strong

Gary Barlow's TV show Let it Shine is facing criticism following the news that its winners will only have "small roles" in the upcoming Take That musical, The Band. Last month, viewers saw boyband Five to Five triumph on the BBC talent competition and secure their place in the production. However, while may had assumed the acts were battling it out for lead roles in The Band – a format seen in shows including Any Dream Will Do and Over The Rainbow – it has since been revealed that they only have supporting parts.

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Five to Five were crowned winners of Let It Shine last month

The musical will instead centre around five female fans, with the music of Take That used as the main storytelling device, sung by Five to Five – AJ Bentley, Sario Solomon, Curtis T Johns, Nick Carsberg and Yazdan Qafouri. The news hasn't gone down well with fans of the show, who have suggested the viewers were "misled" about the boys' roles. In response, the BBC issued a statement, saying: "With Let It Shine we always said that we were casting for a band to appear in a musical based on the music of Take That and they had to be able to sing and dance – like a boyband. The winners will sing and dance to 14 Take That numbers in Gary's musical. We never said we were casting actors. But they will be front and centre of the musical."

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Let It Shine judges Gary Barlow, Dannii Minogue and Martin Kemp

In the initial press release for Let It Shine, the BBC said: "Let It Shine will be seeking out talent to create a band who will join the cast of a brand new stage show featuring the music of Take That. Over eight weeks of competition, BBC One and Gary Barlow will be looking for talented individuals to form a new group that exudes the charisma, showmanship and stage presence that the hit group has become so famous for. The winning group will perform the hits of the band in a nationwide musical stage show called The Band."

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