|Leslie Crowther (1990–1992)|
Russ Abbot (1993 Elvis special)
Matthew Kelly (1993–2004)
Davina McCall (2003 specials)
Cat Deeley (2003–2006)
Harry Hill (2015)
10 January – 14 February 2015
|Granada in association with J. E. Entertainment and Action Time (1990–2006)|
Stars in Their Eyes was a talent competition where the participants dressed up as a singer that they think sounds like them, and sang one of their songs. A number of celebrity specials and a children's spin-off series also aired during the original run.
The show itself was based on a Dutch programme called The Soundmixshow.
In February 1990, Leslie Crowther was chosen as the host of the show which began airing on 21 July 1990. Crowther hosted the first three series, and a Christmas Special in 1991. At the time of his car accident in October 1992, he was booked to record an Elvis Presley special hosted by Russ Abbot and a fourth series hosted by Matthew Kelly in 1993.
It then became apparent that Crowther would not be able to return and he later died in 1996. Therefore, Kelly hosted the show until 13 March 2004. However, in January 2003 Kelly was arrested by police over allegations of child sex abuse resulting in Davina McCall temporarily hosting the show before Kelly returned in August 2003 after the charges were dropped. Kelly also hosted the 2001 pilot episode and first series of the kids version (in 2002).
Cat Deeley, who previously took over as host of the kids version in 2003, was Kelly's replacement for the final adult series in 2005. Deeley also hosted a number of specials in 2004. Deeley hosted the show until its final episode in December 2006.
Stars in Their Eyes is a talent show where contestants get the chance to appear and sing live as a famous singer. The show is most importantly a 'soundalike' show, but they are also dressed up to look as close as possible to the singer they are impersonating, often with wigs and heavy makeup.
The contestants appear firstly as themselves, talking briefly to the host about their lives and giving clues as to who they are going to be performing as, finishing with the now famous catchphrase "Tonight [presenter name] I'm going to be…" The contestants then disappear through the equally famous doors, and reappear as the famous singer they are going to impersonate about five minutes later.
At the end of the show, the studio audience vote for their favourite, and the winner is announced. The winners from each show in the series return for the grand final to perform once more.
In the original Leslie Crowther version, the grand finals were pre-recorded and the winner of the whole series was voted for by the studio audience.
When Matthew Kelly took over, the grand finals were broadcast live and the winner of the whole series was voted for by the viewing public through the phone lines and in some years online as well. The winner was announced later on that same evening in a separate broadcast.
The same process applied during Cat Deeley's tenure as host.
Harry Hill took over on 10 January 2015, with all episodes pre-recorded by BBC Studios and Post Production at the BBC's Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, and the winner of each show again voted for by the studio audience. The revival proved divisive - fans of the original format were critical of it, saying that Harry Hill had made the show about him rather than the contestants; while others acknowledged that the revival was a post-modern parody of the original, with its knowing ridicule of talent show cliches such as terrible performances being overpraised, and the actions of the presenter receiving high editorial focus to distract from the outdated performance element being thinly stretched. Each episode featured Harry being pursued by Adele (really a look-alike) for being in possession of her baby and she would comically chase him until she got the baby back.
In April 2015, it was announced that due to poor viewing figures, ITV would not be renewing the show for another series, and it was axed.