All The Small Things Coming To BBC One

by Lisa McGarry

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In this all-new all-singing series for BBC One, in a town in the north of England the sparky but self-effacing Esther (Sarah Lancashire) sings her heart out in the local choir – a disparate collective whose enthusiasm far outweighs its musical ability, and which is conducted by her husband, the charismatic and inspiring Michael (Neil Pearson).

Full-time mother to teens Fred, Georgia and the troubled but musically gifted Kyle (Richard Fleeshman), Esther nimbly juggles the demands of clashing choral egos and chaotic family life.

That is, until glamorous soprano Layla (Sarah Alexander) arrives on the scene, tearing apart the harmony of the choir – and Esther’s marriage – dividing loyalties and creating mayhem wherever she turns.

Manipulative and aspirational, Layla soon has Michael singing from her own song-sheet, encouraging him to jettison all but the most gifted singers from the choir in the ruthless pursuit of prizes and recognition.

Further intrigue appears in the shape of Jake (Bryan Dick), a handsome young curate with a secret mission to shake up the old order – and whose own past has been blighted by the spirited Layla.

Excluded from the choir and from her marriage, Esther’s life is turned upside down. As the less able singers are forced out of the revamped choir Esther unwittingly finds herself at the heart of an eclectic troupe of misfits, united only by their passion for music.

Unexpectedly joined by the younger generation and their loud, sometimes abrasive musical offerings, it is Esther’s task to unite the disparate strands – classical and contemporary – and through Kyle’s extraordinary talent and her own quiet inspiration, to create a new choir on the block.

Written by Debbie Horsfield (Cutting It, True Dare Kiss), All the Small Things follows the lives and ambitions, triumphs and failures of Esther and Michael, Jake and Layla; and two choirs with very different agendas – and musical repertoires – against a backdrop of soaring choruses and infectious melodies from pop to punk to classical.