Entertainment & Arts

Maria Friedman and Mel Giedroyc join Sound of Music Live TV show

Maria Friedman, Mel Giedroyc
Image caption Friedman and Giedroyc join fellow cast members Kara Tointon and Katherine Kelly

Olivier award-winning actress Maria Friedman and Great British Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc are joining the cast of The Sound of Music Live!, set to air on ITV this Christmas.

Theatre star Friedman, who is currently playing Elaine Peacock in EastEnders, will play Mother Abbess in the live production of the popular musical.

Comedian, actress and presenter Giedroyc will play Frau Schmidt.

ITV previously confirmed Kara Tointon will play the central role of Maria.

The Mr Selfridge and EastEnders actress, who is also a former Strictly Come Dancing winner, will star opposite Julian Ovenden - who played Charles Blake in Downton Abbey - as Captain Georg von Trapp.

The two-and-a-half-hour TV show will be based on the original 1959 stage musical, telling the story of trainee nun Maria who becomes a governess to the musical von Trapp family in Austria.

It was inspired by the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers - an Austrian concert group - and the memoir of Maria von Trapp.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tointon's former roles range from EastEnders to the West End production of Pygmalion

The ITV production will feature songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic score, such as How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, Edelweiss, Do-Re-Mi, My Favourite Things and The Sound of Music.

It will also star former Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly as Baroness Elsa Schraeder while Alexander Armstrong will play Max Detweiler.

Maria was played by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film version which won five Oscars, including best picture and best director, and went on to become one of the highest-grossing films ever.

Tointon said she was "thrilled and excited" to be taking on the iconic role and "to follow in the footsteps of some great actresses who have played Maria on stage and film."

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Ovenden will play widow Captain von Trapp who falls in love with governess Maria, played by Tointon

As well as Friedman and Giedroyc, new additions to the cast include theatre stars Evelyn Hoskins as Liesl von Trapp, Jon Tarcy and Olivier Award-winner Paul Copley.

The production will be broadcast live from the soundstages at London's Three Mills Studios.

It is being directed by Bafta-nominated Coky Giedroyc, the sister of Mel, who has previously worked on Wuthering Heights, Oliver Twist and Penny Dreadful.

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