Uh, media exposure, that is. Prostitutes are, like, all over the place this week. First, a prostitution ring takes down the Sheriff of Wall Street. Then the BBC kicks off its newest musical talent competition, I’d Do Anything, in which contestants compete for the chance to play Nancy, hooker with a heart of gold, in a West End revival of the musical Oliver! Londonist cites the two examples and declares it a cultural phenomenon.
The first episode of I’d Do Anything airs this Saturday, 15 March (7.30pm, BBC1), and will follow, as these shows tend to, the drama, the heartbreak, the intrigue of a competition that will winnow the field from thousands of Nancy hopefuls to a select few, with the help of judges Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Denise Van Outen, John Barrowman and you, friends.
In other words: attention whores – no – fame seekers pimp, no, promote selves on aptly titled show; satisfied customers, erm, viewers, reward winner with stage role of prostitute. Right. No irony there. (Thank you, thank you, BBC.)
Of course, the musical would be nothing without its title character, and I’d Do Anything is in search of an Oliver as well. The Beeb will not, however, allow viewers to weigh in on the fate of its prospective Olivers, preferring instead to leave that decision solely to the judges, as it is careful to avoid charges of exploitation and to protect its child star from the pressures of fame (sorry, but does that logically follow?).
Despite having been shielded from the public’s unforgiving democratic impulse, the winning Oliver will still presumably be able to tap into deep wells of experiential hurt to summon up the appropriately forlorn look in that musical tour de force – sing it with us! – One boy, boy for sale...