Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust staff form choir for new Gareth Malone BBC2 show
AFTER scoring a Christmas number one last year with the Military Wives, top TV choirmaster Gareth Malone has moved on to his next challenge - Lewisham doctors and nurses.
Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust staff will hit our screens next Thursday in the first of a six-episode series which will eventually see them compete against rival choirs from Royal Mail, Manchester Airport and Severn Trent Water.
BBC crews have been filming at trust sites across the borough, including Lewisham Hospital, for six months, covering the auditions and rehersals of 30 staff - whittled down from 130.
Speech and language therapy assistant Natalie Beaumont is one of the stars of the show, whose only previous choral experience was karaoke and singing while vacuuming.
She said: "I was terrified in the audition. You're in a room with ambulance drivers, nurses, physiotherapists and we all had to sing A Spoonful of Sugar, standing up in front of everyone else.
"I was shocked at the amazing talent the hospital has hidden."
During her audition, she started singing low but was encouraged by Mr Malone to push for higher notes.
She said: "All of a sudden this voice came out and I shocked myself. What came out, I didn't know I could do. I remember dropping down in the chair shaking."
Fellow choir member Sarah Wood, a physiotherapist, said: "I've loved signing since I was a little girl. My boyfriend was really encouraging me to do it, probably because I wouldn't shut up singing at him."
The choir has performed for staff and patients in the hospital during filming, including one memorable moment when a patient, bed bound for around four months was visited by Mr Malone.
Ms Wood said: "She was so lifted and so inspired that we managed to get her taking her first steps with Gareth.
"It was honestly one of the best times of my life."
The choir is sworn to secrecy about what they will sing and how well they do, but say the songs they chose reflect life in the hospital.
And, no matter the outcome, the choir will continue.
Ms Wood said: "The choir will keep going.
" I think everyone is basically itching to get going again."
The Choir: Sing While You Work starts on BBC2 on September 20 at 9pm.