BBC One begins its new talent search Over The Rainbow tonight on BBC One. The show will find a new Dorothy to star in a major West End production of The Wizard Of Oz.

Over The Rainbow, hosted by Graham Norton, will start at 9pm tonight (Friday) on BBC One, followed by a live feature-length studio show on Saturday at 6.30pm.

Westendtheatre.com has launched a special micro-site to follow the show, from the start of auditions up to the opening night of the show in the West End.

Following the success of BBC musical talent shows How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything, Over The Rainbow will see Andrew Lloyd Webber search for a new Dorothy to lead the cast in his 2011 revival of The Wizard of Oz. A venue is yet to be announced for the production.

Andrew Lloyd Webber will be joined by a new panel of experts – actress Sheila Hancock, who is currently starring in Sister Act at the London Palladium, singer and TV presenter Charlotte Church and EastEnders actor John Partridge.

Friday’s show will cover the weeks of mass auditions that took place around the country, and Saturday will begin the weekly series of live studio rounds by showcasing the final 20 Dorothys in a studio-based “sing-off”‘.

Once the panel has agreed on the final 10 finalists, a wild card element will be introduced into the format, allowing viewers to vote to save one of the girls who is voted off by the panellists.

In the forthcoming West End show, Andrew Lloyd Webber will look to add some new songs to the stage show, which differs slightly to the 1939 MGM film immortalised by Judy Garland as Dorothy. “The film worked fantastically but we need some new songs for the stage show”, said Lloyd Webber”.

From April, the TV show will also search for a Toto, Dorothy’s little dog, to star in a one-off gala performance of The Wizard of Oz next year. The search will be led by I’d Do Anything winner Jodie Prenger, who completes her West End stint as Nancy in Oliver! on Saturday and will then join the UK touring production of Spamalot.

BBC One, Friday 26 March 2010, 9pm

BBC One, Saturday 27 March 2010, 6.30pm

Westendtheatre.com – Over The Rainbow micro-site