The Version Interview... Dannii Minogue on BBC One's Let It Shine

Starring judges Gary Barlow, Dannii Minogue, Martin Kemp and guest judge Amber Riley, and presenters Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc.

Over eight weeks of competition, starting at 7pm on Saturday 7 January on BBC One, Let It Shine will search for five talented boys to form a band and perform the songs of Take That, in a brand new show touring the UK from late 2017. The judges are looking for a band that exudes the charisma, showmanship and stage presence that Take That became so famous for.

Let It Shine will welcome guest judges in each of the three stages of the competition. Musical theatre star Amber Riley, joins the first audition stage (episodes one-four), superstar Lulu joins the second stage. Announcements about the live shows in February will be made in due course.

What’s it like working with Gary?
He’s distractingly good looking! That’s not fair, it’s a very difficult part of my job. And then I have Martin on the other side of me, so I’m wedged between two guys who couldn’t be more charming or more beautiful. Really it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!

Have you been impressed by the standard of the contestants on this show?
They are incredible and there’s so much you can latch on to: the singing, dancing, the charisma. Then when you get them together in a band, it brings out the personalities even more.

Some of the contestants are very young, do you feel maternal towards them?
Actually the younger ones have way more confidence than the older ones - they have nothing to lose. I spoke to Lulu about her first recording, when she was 14. I asked if she was nervous and she said no, because she had nothing to lose - she was just having fun. It’s the older ones who have a wife and kid sitting in the audience, it’s so much harder for them. They are trying to be in the moment and focus on what they need to do, but it’s impossible. I know when I am at work half my brain will be on my son, making sure I call him before he goes to bed, checking he is okay at school, that kind of thing. It’s different being 14 when you don’t have responsibilities, you can feel free.

This show is offering a job and not just instant fame…
That’s important to me. It’s a job and a set of skills that they can use forever. That’s incredible. They are going to be travelling the country and you have to get a lot of shows under your belt to get good at what you do. With the level of talent we have got, when we do get our final five, they won’t just be winners of this show - I think they have a huge chance of going on to be superstars. That’s how high the standard is.

What advice would you give to the contestants about dealing with the fame that comes with being on a primetime show like this?
I think you have to enjoy the company you are in. They are going to be in a great band of boys and they can take comfort in that. There’s a lot of support there. The hardest aspect of dealing with fame is when you don’t have the support. I’ve always had my family behind me and of course a sister who does the same job, that has been a huge help to me.

What were you missing about the UK that made you want to come back now?
I moved to Melbourne to live when I had Ethan because I needed to be around my family - I was a new mum and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Now Ethan’s just started school and he’s getting really settled, and it's time for me to get out there again in the UK.

Is there anything about the UK you missed while you’ve been away?
I’ve missed the TV here. We get a lot of British programmes in Australia, but I miss the big, live TV moments. When we started filming this I’d flown in and I was jet-lagged; I got to my hotel and the first night of I’m A Celeb was on, which is one of my favourite shows ever -  love Ant and Dec. Those moments, the essential TV viewing, I miss that.

Have you been able to hang out with Kylie while you were filming the show?
It’s nice to have been able to hang out with my sister over here, but she’s also been to Australia a lot over the last few years, so we’ve seen a lot of each other there too.

Gary’s being mysterious about the stage show, can you give any hints about it?
I know everything about the show, but I can’t say anything! It’s so exciting and will be totally unexpected. I love what the whole show is going to be about. Having it explained to me fully, I was moved from tears to laughter just sitting there while he was talking to me about it. So once they get all the right performers in that show and get it up and running, it’s going to be incredible.


Let It Shine, Saturday, 7pm, BBC One