The Choir: New Military Wives, BBC2 - TV review

There are now more than 80 military wives choirs, with more than 2,000 members

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The Independent Culture

"Choirmaster Gareth Malone is back!" announced the voiceover for The Choir: New Military Wives (BBC2)– a valiant attempt to introduce a sense of occasion, but in vain. It's been barely six weeks since Malone was last on telly in The Choir's Children in Need special.

That project produced his second hit record, but the first came in 2011, when he organised the first Military Wives choir, and their single "Wherever You Are" reached the Christmas No 1 spot. There are now more than 80 military wives choirs, with more than 2,000 members.

Gareth's first task was to select the best 100 singers, forming a new choir who would perform as part of the First World War centenary performance at the Proms. Then there was a trip to the Royal Academy of Music to put together a repertoire of songs from the period, with the help of music historian Dr Hannah French.

There was Elgar's "The Snow", with lyrics written by Mrs Elgar, and Holst's "Ave Maria" sounded nice too – but with eight parts it was more complicated than anything he or any of his choirs had ever attempted: "This could be my undoing, this one," he murmured. Oh, do stop, Gareth. You know full well you'll pull it off, just like you always do.

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