Since winning the third season of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent with his dance troupe Diversity in 2009, Ashley Banjo has established himself as one of paycaster channel Sky 1 HD’s key talents. He appeared as a judge on talent show Got to Dance in 2010 and fronted docu-reality format Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew two years later.
His latest effort for the channel is Ashley Banjo’s Big Town Dance, which is his most ambitious project to date. The format sees the 25-year-old attempting to revitalise the community of little-known North-East England town Stockton-on-Tees by choreographing a massive street dance.
“It’s a series based on the positivity Ashley saw at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics,” says Tim Whitwell, head of programmes at the show’s producer, Shine TV. “He’s always had a dream of getting a whole community together and renewing it through dance. He’s using dance as a way to bring people together in a town that feels somewhat neglected by the rest of the country.”
Sky’s director of entertainment channels Stuart Murphy has often talked of a desire to commission shows that have strong feel-good values, and Whitwell says Big Town Dance fits the bill. “It has positivity pouring out of its pores,” he says.
A potential problem with international format deals is finding a local Ashley Banjo, but with street dance movements booming around the world, Whitwell says this can be overcome. “Secret Street Crew has sold around the world [for example in Denmark], and people have found that person, so there’s no reason it can’t be sold in that way.”
The show: Ashley Banjo’s Big Town Dance
The producer: Shine TV
The distributor: Shine International
The broadcaster: Sky1 HD (UK)
The concept: Breakdancer Ashley Banjo tries to rejuvenate a town by getting thousands to take part in a choreographed dance