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Flop Now or Never to return for Christmas

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It’s Now or Never, the musical entertainment show branded a ratings flop this summer, is to return to screens for second chance over Christmas.

The reality show, which features members of public the proposing to their partners in the style of West End musicals, was dropped after it pulled in just 1.7 million viewers in its prime time Saturday night slot.

The opening programme, which saw a man proposing to his girlfriend while singing Take That’s A Million Love Songs, was beaten by BBC1’s Lottery show, which had 5.5 million viewers, and Casualty with six million, and scored the same ratings as BBC2’s Carry on Henry.

Originally two shows were made but the network was forced to pull the second because of the figures, but has now decided to put it on over the festive period. This time it will air slightly earlier at 6pm on Saturday, December 30.

Producer Peter Davey said: “We made two programmes, like pilots. After the ratings on the first show they decided to move the second one. It was a difficult time at ITV and Charles Allen was coming under fire. It was always planned that the show would come back.

“The problem last time was getting people to the programme, because the evidence we had was that broadly those who actually saw the programme did enjoy it. I don’t think we got it across to people what it was – and I don’t think people got a sense of it. Perhaps it should have been spelt out more clearly at the start of the programme.”

Davey added that the second story was very different, this time it features a women surprising a long term friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. This production will take place at City Airport, which was closed while the show took place. All of the staff – from baggage handlers to security – were replaced with performers that comprise the chorus.

He said: “I still have a lot of faith in the programme and really think it will appeal – we just need to get people to it. It’s quite nostalgic in a way. This has been done with the best of intentions, not to further a career but just to do something for someone they care about. In a way I am proud that it is quite old fashioned and that it doesn’t have eliminations, or a panel of judges, it is important to try different things.

Host Philip Schofield will again front the show and Davey explained that the popular presenter has given his full backing to the programme. The show has been sold to Italy and producers are in talks with a US network.

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