Page 3 Profile: Gareth Malone, Choirmaster


The most charming of bespectacled choirmasters.

Indeed. An emblem of quaint Englishness, the choral singer first hit the small screen with reality show The Choir in 2007, before helping the Military Wives bag last year's Christmas No 1 with their heart-rending hit "Wherever You Are" – a love song addressed to their partners on the front line. But angelic though his voice may be, not everyone is enamoured by the cherub-faced choral singer's latest offering.

And why is that?

In his new BBC2 series Sing While You Work, to be broadcast later this month, Gareth trains choirs from four different workplaces to compete against each other. However Edmund Chaloner, a consultant vascular surgeon at Lewisham Hospital in south-east London, has accused the show's producers of creating a "dishonest" reality show. He told the Radio Times that programme makers used people as "stereotypes" in order to show the NHS workers coming together in a display of musicianship, which he says is not an accurate representation of reality.

Surely that's not Gareth's fault?

Not by the sounds of it. The man who is credited with sparking the resurgence in choral singing and bringing communities together through song says it was all about getting the hospital employees to "open up and sing with emotion".

Running it as a competition raised the participants' game, he adds. Indeed, many participants say it was a positive experience that broke down barriers in the workplace and the BBC point to the equality within a choir.

Even Chaloner, who apparently hasn't seen the episode in which he appears, admits that he enjoyed the singing and that the music was "sensational" – but that he wouldn't do it again because the filming was "a nuisance".