Noel Edmonds returns for a five week run of NOEL’S HQ

by Lisa McGarry


After the phenomenal success of Noel’s Christmas Presents, Noel Edmonds returns for a new five-part series of Noel’s HQ to launch on Saturday 17 January at 8:00pm on Sky1 and Sky1 HD. In the live studio show Noel and his team of helpers aim to inspire, encourage and empower every viewer to make an immediate and enduring contribution to life in Britain.

Noel’s HQ was seen as a response to the growing frustration being felt by millions who see their nation changing for the worse and their communities, and therefore their lives, changing forever. The series will attempt to answer the key questions to which millions of us are desperately seeking the answers:

How can we turn our young people away from violence and anti-social behaviour?

Who are the faceless un-elected busy bodies who are turning us into “Grey Britain”?

Why are we now so over-burdened with so many rules, regulations and new laws?

Sally Dixon, Executive Producer commented: “The original broadcast of Noel’s HQ demonstrated that there is a strong appetite for a series that engages viewers in a fun and entertaining way. The results from the live show were truly remarkable and continue to resonate. With a series we’ll be able to engage our viewers in long term incentives that will truly impact British society. This is a show where every viewer can get involved – but it won’t cost them money – it’s the perfect antidote to the credit crunch and christmas excess.”

One major initiative for the new series is Noel’s Big Band a national campaign supported by a HMV, Europa Worldwide Logistics and the Re-Play Music Project, together with Paul McManus of MIA (Music Industries Associates). The idea is to bring music back to underprivileged schools by encouraging people to donate unused musical instruments – instruments can be turned in at HMV stores across the country. Each week the instruments will be collected and taken to a central location to be screened, cleaned, and stringing carried out before the instruments are delivered to the schools. The campaign will begin with Raynes Park High School where the majority of children can’t afford lessons or instruments, but have a real passion, ability and enthusiasm for music. The school also has a specialist unit for 20 students with autistic spectrum. With our instrument amnesty Noel’s HQ will aim to change that. The feature is fronted by Ben James Ellis (Any Dream Will Do, Hairspray: The School Musical) who will be following the progress of the children each week and there will be a range of musicians who will visit the school to give master-classes and drop off instruments, plus celebrated musical director Gareth Valentine (Acorn Antiques, Aladdin) has taken on the challenge of teaching the children and preparing them for their final performance.

Forty children from Raynes Park High School will be given instruments over the weeks so that they can form a band – once the school has its instruments other deserving schools around the country will share in the spoils. The beauty of this campaign is that it doesn’t cost people any money to take part, and it affords the chance of bringing back to life abandoned instruments.

Noel will examine Bonkers Britain looking at PC regulations gone wrong and Keith Chegwin will be helping Noel to cut through the red tape. In the feature SNoel-Ball – initiatives that will start small but grow big thanks to the help of the British public – Noel will offer campaigns for the whole nation to get involved in. For example, Noel’s Mobiles is a call-to-action for members of the public to donate their unused mobile phones for recycling with the money generated by the donations going towards worthy charities and Do Us A Favour which sees Noel encouraging viewers to give up their time to help out charities. Plus there’s the return of features Random Acts Of Kindness and Wonder Walls, where do-gooders in the audience will get to pick from a wall of surprises.

A host of famous faces will be getting behind our stories to make a real difference including Konnie Huq and Andi Peters, plus stand-up Chris Cohen provides a weekly satirical song on the state of the nation.

One special case that came to the attention of Noel’s HQ is that of 17 year-old Kirsty Ashton from Manchester. Kirsty has a serious illness that leads to tumors on her spine. Despite her illness, Kirsty has been raising money for the Make A Wish Foundation. A self-confessed Hollyoaks addict, Noel arranges for Kirsty to go behind-the-scenes on her favourite show. After a tour by Ricky Whittle who plays Calvin Valentine, Kirsty is then given a ‘money can’t buy’ gift – a small speaking role in the show.

Noel’s HQ will combine doing good with “feel-good” and will attempt to change people’s lives forever. From local projects to nationwide campaigns; from light-hearted stories to heart warming tales of generosity and bravery, Noel’s HQ will attempt to inspire significant social change across Britain.

Noel’s HQ will launch on Saturday 17 January, 2009 at 8:00pm on Sky1 and Sky1 HD.