The five winners of Gary Barlow’s talent search programme Let It Shine will not be the lead actors in his upcoming musical.
According to the Daily Mirror, the stage performance will instead follow the story of five female teenage fans of a pop band modelled on Take That.
The BBC came under fire after it became clear that the five singers would not have speaking parts in the Frodsham-born singer-songwriter’s show.
Critics and fans have called out producers for ‘bad form’ for not making the roles clear and for ‘misleading’ viewers.
Mirror television critic Ian Hyland said: “So the band who won Let It Shine are not even the stars of Gary Barlow’s Take That musical?
“They’re the chorus line. Bad form that, BBC 1.”
One fan wrote on social media: “Such a farce! Thought they were going to be the musical, not the backing singers to a show! Wonder if the band even knew.”
Another commented: “So the #LetItShine winners aren’t actually going to be the stars of the new Gary Barlow musical? Slightly misleading methinks.”
Barlow and the BBC said the winners would ‘join the cast’ of the show and ‘perform the hits of the band’ - but did not say they would have lead roles.
A spokesperson for the BBC said: “With Let it Shine we always said we were casting for a band to appear in a musical based on the music of Take That and they had to be able to sing and dance – like a boy band.
“The winners will sing and dance to 14 Take That numbers in Gary’s musical. We never said we were casting actors. But they will be front and centre of the musical.’
However fans have said that the musical’s title The Band is suggestive.
One viewer posted on social media: “Knew it wasn’t about Take That but thought it was about a band. Feel that’s a bit of cheating.”
Five to Five, made up of AJ Bentley, Sario Solomon, Curtis T Johns, Nick Carsberg and Yazdan Qafouri, won the talent show at the end of February.
Tickets for The Band, written by Tim Firth, go on sale in April and the cast will embark on a nationwide tour on September 8.