• Awards Season
  • Big Stories
  • Pop Culture
  • Video Games
  • Celebrities

Sudoku for Beginners: How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Are you a beginner when it comes to solving Sudoku puzzles? Do you find yourself frustrated and unsure of where to start? Fear not, as we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to improve your problem-solving skills through Sudoku.

Understanding the Basics of Sudoku

Before we dive into the strategies and techniques, let’s first understand the basics of Sudoku. A Sudoku puzzle is a 9×9 grid that is divided into nine smaller 3×3 grids. The objective is to fill in each row, column, and smaller grid with numbers 1-9 without repeating any numbers.

Starting Strategies for Beginners

As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to look at an empty Sudoku grid. But don’t worry. There are simple starting strategies that can help you get started. First, look for any rows or columns that only have one missing number. Fill in that number and move on to the next row or column with only one missing number. Another strategy is looking for any smaller grids with only one missing number and filling in that number.

Advanced Strategies for Beginner/Intermediate Level

Once you’ve mastered the starting strategies, it’s time to move on to more advanced techniques. One technique is called “pencil marking.” This involves writing down all possible numbers in each empty square before making any moves. Then use logic and elimination techniques to cross off impossible numbers until you are left with the correct answer.

Another advanced technique is “hidden pairs.” Look for two squares within a row or column that only have two possible numbers left. If those two possible numbers exist in both squares, then those two squares must contain those specific numbers.

Benefits of Solving Sudoku Puzzles

Not only is solving Sudoku puzzles fun and challenging, but it also has many benefits for your brain health. It helps improve your problem-solving skills, enhances memory and concentration, and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In conclusion, Sudoku is a great way to improve your problem-solving skills while also providing entertainment. With these starting and advanced strategies, you’ll be able to solve even the toughest Sudoku puzzles. So grab a pencil and paper and start sharpening those brain muscles.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

MailOnline US - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

  • U.K. Showbiz
  • Meghan Markle
  • Jeremy Renner
  • Taylor Swift
  • Kim Kardashian

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

Whatever happened to the OTHER Marias and Josephs?


Last updated at 14:13 21 December 2007

When Andrew Lloyd Webber risked his reputation being torn to shreds on two BBC1 reality talent shows - How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do - he was searching for two unknowns to star in new productions of The Sound Of Music and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Not only have his winners - Connie Fisher and Lee Mead - become critically acclaimed stars, but Lloyd Webber has struck box office gold by opening up the theatre experience to a broader public.

Scroll down for more...

Joseph and Marias

Each series became compulsive Saturday night viewing for an average seven million viewers who voted for their favourites.

Now the top finalists from each show - who got to know each other sharing a house during the programmes - have been brought together for a Christmas special, When Joseph Met Maria, on BBC1 on Christmas Eve.

So what happened to the Joseph and Maria wannabes? Did the winners really take it all, or did the runners-up outrun them in the end?

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

1. CONNIE FISHER, 24, has been appearing as Maria since her win.

"What really killed me was not the stamina for the show, it was the stamina for publicity which nobody anticipated would be so massive after the TV programme.

"Everyone said, 'How is it? How are you coping?', but by answering those questions I was just exhausted by the time I got on stage. That was the difficulty and I also got a few infections and then I also had a vocal injury.

"So I had to rest my voice for a few weeks and then I came back. It felt like an eternity with all the press on my case.

"It's not like being given the gift of a recording deal for X Factor, it's much more than that, it's the gift of a job.

"It completely changed my life and you have to pinch yourself every night and remind yourself how you got here. I sometimes get emoltional at the curtain call realising how quickly I have come here

"I am under no illusion. This is my first job and it could well be my last. I am mega busy but I am never divaish - well, people tell me I'm not anyway - I once said, 'I'll be a diva when I start demanding blue smarties.'"

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

2. HELENA BLACKMAN, 25, was in the final of How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria? having survived several sing-offs. She is currently touring in a production of South Pacific playing the lead character Nellie Forbish.

"How do you Solve a Problem was very nerve-wracking and scary. I knew how much one performance could make or break me.

"I have always wanted to be a lead in a long-running show – which I now am. I have 12 big numbers to sing and am on stage virtually the whole time. I am on the poster and it is lovely to see my name in lights.

"In Maria there were 10 special ladies who held their nerve every week in front of millions of people and we were hugely supportive of each other.

"I do think Connie was the best. It is easier to walk away knowing that the best person won. She worked so hard; she is the spitting image of Julie Andrews which helped too. It was easy to let go because of that.

"To be honest after six weeks of the programme I was beginning to ask myself whether I wanted this job as much as I thought.

"The best thing for me has been the kind of work I have been doing since; they have been quality jobs with fantastic people and a huge variety. Connie has been doing just the one show, The Sound of Music.

"When we all got together for the Christmas special it was like a big reunion. It was the same team, same costume and make up people. It was like a blast from the past and great to see everyone.

"My parents were very proud of me, but I think they were glad I didn't win. Dad found it too nerve-wracking and didn't always come. I did have a difficult time. I had sing offs four or five times. It was not easy on my friends and family.

"I do think I am lucky I did not win. It is so much harder on the winner. Connie was immediately thrust under the spotlight. Suddenly people wanted to know more about her. It has been difficult for her to have a private life. I have been saved all that.

"I do have a boyfriend, Paul, a producer I met at the Olivier Awards in February."

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

3. SIOBHAN DILLON, 23, came third in Maria, and is now a leading character in judge David Ian's production of Grease in the West End playing cheerleader Patty Simcox.

"We were all aware it was a competition. As much as we had a good time together and giggles, it was always an underlying factor.

"I was Second Chance Maria. I was booted out at the end of the pre-recorded rounds but I replaced a girl who dropped out. The whole thing was bizarre because I was a fashion student in this major singing competition.

"I was in there for a good laugh really, but everyone else was heading their career in that direction.

"About a week into the house I said to Connie, 'You know you're going to win, don't you.' And she went, What!' I said, 'You're blatantly going to win.' It became a standing joke every Saturday. Connie used to say to me, 'I'm so nervous'.

"And I'd say, 'Con, chill out. You're going to win.' I know it sounds really easy to say this now. Connie was ready in every way. She was always going to be Maria.

"Andrew Lloyd Webber had told me Polydor Records were interested in me and two weeks after I left the show I signed to them. It didn't work out in the end, but I will be releasing the album with someone else next year.

"When I was dropped by the record company I knew they were auditioning for Grease so I texted David Ian who was producing it. He put me on to a casting director and within three days I had the part of the cheerleader Patty Simcox.

"I have suffered from a lack of self confidence. I put it down to being bullied massively when I was younger. All the way through the programme I was thinking, why have they chosen me, the same with my record deal, and it was the same when I began in Grease. Why have they chosen me? Am I good enough?

"David Ian did take a big gamble on me. But I know they're happy with me now, so that's fine."

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

4. AOIFE MULHOLLAND, 29, who came fourth in Maria, went on to star as Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago and is now the alternate Maria for Connie Fisher, filling in for her days off and holidays at the London Palladium.

"Abi Finley and I were known as the party animals of the house. All the other girls were quite disciplined and they were in bed early and learning their songs.

"Me and Abi sneaked out a couple of times. We couldn't go out of the front door because they had a CCTV camera, so we crawled out the window. We just went out to the pub and had a glass of wine. We were working so hard and deserved a bit of a treat.

"I remember getting awful comments the week I performed If My Friends Could See Me Now. I suppose that's what I signed up for, to be criticised in front of the nation.

"But to stand there having put your heart and soul into this thing and then for the judges to say, 'That was pretty amateur, pretty crap'.

"I felt like somebody had punched me in the stomach. Andrew said to me a couple of times actually after the show that he was sorry that he let me go at that stage.

"I am confident in my abilities, but I am not one to put myself forward an awful lot. I could see from the very beginning that Connie was very strong and talented and she'd be the type of person who would give everything she's got. She had the drive in her that I didn't have.

"It was only after I got Roxie Hart in Chicago that I actually believed, yes, I can do this. I was still in Chicago when I got a call from a casting agent asking to come in as a possible alternate Maria. That was another shock to the system.

"I went in and sang for Andrew again and then a couple of days later they said they wanted to make me an offer. I couldn't believe that I finally got it in the end. After it was taken away from me I was given a second chance."

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

5. SIMONA ARMSTRONG, 30, who came seventh is married to Ian Gerrard Armstrong, a personal trainer from Glasgow. Simona is Romanian, her parents are teachers living in Bucharest. She got to number six in the Maria competition but frequently seemed isolated from the other girls. She has now turned to TV acting.

"I come from a very bright family but I am the black sheep because I wanted to be an actress. Yet even though my parents wanted me to be a lawyer they were very proud of me in the competition.

"My big disadvantage is that English is not my first language and I didn't know the show the Sound of Music. I had to learn all the songs from scratch and sing them fluently, which was a big job for me.

"I studied straight acting at drama school in Bucharest. I came to Britain because I was suffering a severe form of skin cancer, and was treated in Scotland where I met my husband. I am now cured.

"My husband encouraged me to enter the competition, after we heard about it when Andrew Lloyd Webber was being interviewed on Parkinson. I was thrilled to be chosen to be one of the 10 girls but it was extremely tough for me.

"All my happy and positive feelings had been knocked out of me toward the end of the competition. I had found it extremely hard – and because I had to spend so much extra time learning the words and perfecting my accent I had to spend more time on my own, so I did not get to know the other girls very well.

"I felt isolated and lonely but that was the only way I could give myself a chance of doing my best in my performance.

"Since the show I have been in two episodes of Doctors for BBC1 and Love Soap a BBC comedy in which I play a lesbian. It is quite spicy and I have to take my clothes off.

"My parents are very traditional people and would go crazy if they found out. The trouble is that if you are Eastern European there aren't many roles for you, that aren't about sex trafficking or pornography.

"I even played a pole dancer in an episode of a Touch of Frost before the Maria competition. I did have a scene with David Jason and in fact it was he who advised me to move from Glasgow to London and get an agent. I am glad I took his advice.

"I wasn't sad about being voted off Maria; I felt I was straining my voice because I hadn't had any lessons and was finding I was having to do twice the amount of work. I am a totally different performer now.

"I don't suffer stage fright like I used to and I am better known. When I go to auditions people know who I am, and that is important in this business.

"I never thought I wanted to do musical theatre, but now I am ready to hit the big stage. I have projects lined up for next year which I can't talk about at the moment, and I have written a song that I would like to perform in the Eurovision song contest for Britain, to show my appreciation for all the British people who supported me."

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

6. LEE MEAD, 26, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex was a singer on cruise liner before Joseph. He had also been Pharoah and Brother Levi in touring production of Joseph, and as Raoul understudy in Phantom of the Opera. After winning the show he has appeared in the West End as Joseph and will do so until September 2008. His first album has gone gold and he is dating Any Dream Will Do judge Denise van Outen.

"I went for Joseph knowing there were thousands of guys and didn't expect anything. As time went on I let the company know that I had got into the last 12 and they said to me, 'You can go with our blessing to do the programme. But if you go you can't have your job back.'

"I was always confident from the very beginning. I always believed that I would make a good Joseph and that I would be good for the role.

"Of course there were highs and lows and the lows were the very intense periods of being away from family and close friends and doing long ten, fifteen hour days.

"I was a bit naive about the show, I thought it would some small BBC2 thing with a few cameras but it hit the nation and became a huge deal.

"It hasn't changed me as a person but my lifestyle has changed. I do interviews on a daily basis, or photo shoots.

"I opened Children In Need this year and that was amazing. I did the concert for Diana as well at Wembley Stadium, that was unbelievable, getting up for 70,000 people."

The show has had an effect on Lee's personal life. He is now dating Maria and Joseph judge, and fellow West End star Denise van Outen.

"We honestly never saw each other on the programme because she was on the panel and we only saw them on the stage each week, that was it. The show ended in June and it wasn't until four months after the programme we decided to go out and meet for coffee," says Lee.

"We've been on a couple of dates, she's a lovely lady and we're getting on really well, and that's about it. There's nothing more than that."

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

7. CRAIG CHALMERS, 25, who came eighth, was frequently criticised by the panel of judges for being too like a cabaret singer but received great support from Bill Kenwright and is now appearing in Bill's touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with a contract until May 2008.

"Before Joseph I was a cabaret singer working the club and pubs circuit in Edinburgh and holiday parks.

"It is very tough, we do 10 shows a week but it is very rewarding. Straight after Joseph I had lots of offers which included musicals and TV work in Scotland but then Bill Kenwright offered me Joseph and I couldn't refuse.

"I am also earning the kind of money I have never had before, but I think I am sensible, and saving up to put a deposit on a house.

"I have just recorded a new album with Bill Kenwright Records which involved five other Josephs and will have a chart release on 11 Feb in time for Valentine's Day. I sing some solos, duets and ensembles. It is called Dream On.

"I think I didn't win because I still had a lot to learn. Lee had more experience, although we were similar ages and had a similar profile. But he was a lot more polished.

"I needed time to prepare and rehearse which is what Bill Kenwright gave me. I think Lee was the best guy. Everyone had their strengths and weakness but Lee had the look, presence and the voice.

"We guys went through a unique experience together obviously, and I am in touch with everyone. I heard Lee wasn't well so sent him a get well text. We phone and email but obviously as I am working, it hasn't been easy to see them. There is no better showcase that on prime time television."

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

8. DANIEL BOYS, 28, who came sixth, has become one of the most remarkable success stories of Joseph. The son of a chartered surveyor and phlebotomist he was working for a cement company at the time of the Joseph auditions. He has recently taken over the lead role of Princeton in the West End musical Avenue Q and is signed to judge John Barrowman's agent.

"I have really fond memories of Joseph. We all seemed pretty relaxed considering seven million people were watching us each night. The studio we performed it was much smaller than it looked on TV and only held 200 people.

"I just concentrated on doing a good song. I was sad that I didn't make the top five, that had been my goal.

I don't know why I didn't win – I was a shock eviction which is quite nice to know, but the fact is that the general pubic gave me the least votes.

"I do think the best man won though. I always thought Lee would win. He does look a perfect Joseph and when it came down to the final three or four I don't think any of the others could have coped with performing eight shows a week.

"Even Keith who came second would have found it hard because he had no experience whatsoever, Lee had been understudying and had more experience. I have seen the show and Lee is fantastic.

"I have just started performing the lead in Avenue Q in West End at the beginning of December. I have a year's contract which is absolutely fantastic. I loved it before I was in it and saw it five times so to be in the cast is wonderful.

"It was a bit stressful sharing a house with 12 lads during the programme but to be honest we were hardly there. We cooked for each other and with 12 in the kitchen it got a bit much and a bit messy.

"Rob and I used to get fed up with doing the washing up. But some of the chaps had never left home and were used to their mother's doing everything for them. I was lucky to get my own bedroom so I could get away.

"I am still in touch with several of the lads especially Lee, Lewis and Ben. I live in Greenwich, do eight shows a week which is very tiring and full on.

"I had left drama school in 2001 I think my family were despairing of me ever finding work and to be honest I was wondering whether I could continue.

"It is a really tough business as well as the highs there are lots of lows but this has been the best year of my life.

"Andrew Lloyd Webber invited the Josephs who were in London out to the Wolesey for dinner recently with Graham Norton, just to thank us for all our hard work and congratulate us on what we had achieved. He is a really nice man – and has helped so many people on the road to success."

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

9. LEWIS BRADLEY, 18, is now alternate Joseph to Lee Mead.

"If you don't believe in yourself then why should anybody else believe in you. So initially I did have that self belief to think yes, I have got a good chance at this.

"You just never knew what way it was going to go because people were leaving who you'd have never have thought would have got voted out. It was anybody's game.

"I don't think John Barrowman was too supportive of me and I didn't quite understand some of his comments. But Bill Kenwright was so supportive.

"I think my strongest performances were in the final because it was at the point where I was like, right this is the last week, come on! And I just gave it everything I had. As Bill Kenwright said, 'the shackles were off.'

"I've done really well to do what I'm doing now because I am still only 18 and I suppose it was Lee's last shot at it with him being eight years older than me. So I have more time than him.

"The advantage of me not winning was that I could take a step back and absorb everything that had happened to me. But with me going on to Joseph I am still getting to play the part that we all went for, which I am really proud of."

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

10. KEITH JACK, 19, runner-up in the TV show is the narrator in touring production of Joseph. From Dalkeith, Midlothian in Scotland Keith famously worked at the checkout at Tesco before going all the way to the final. His album will be released in February.

"It was a long journey but when I look back on it now I just say it was a fantastic experience and such a great learning curve and the start of a new career. Even now I just sit and think, Oh my God, I still can't believe I did that.

"I wasn't at all convinced I could win. I was just hoping to get to the last 12 and when I got to the last 12 I was hoping to get to the last five and every week was just a bonus until I got through.

"I just thought that I had so much up against me. Daniel and Lee were professionals and Lewis and Ben had trained at Italia Conti. Everybody it seemed had done something before while I was just working on the till at Tesco.

"It was when I sang Love Is All Around that it really hit me that I could actually maybe do this. They said it was like vocal perfection and that was the turning point and it was just an incredible feeling.

"I started to believe in myself. As I kept getting through and I realised people must be picking up the phone for me. So that gave me real inspiration to keep going and keep fighting and work harder and try to be a better performer.

"I do feel that Lee was the right person to win. When I look back now I think would I have been ready to play that part in the West End right now. It would have been scary.

"I think in the end the career I have now is the best thing for me. If I hadn't done the show I would probably still be at Tesco and auditioning for drama schools."

Share or comment on this article:

Most watched news videos.

  • Moment Croatian foreign minister attempts to kiss German counterpart
  • Pro-Palestine protestors throw fireworks at police in Trafalgar Square
  • SuperGRAN! Pole dancer's fab physique (and she's teaching others!)
  • Moment man removes Palestinian flag from a war memorial in Rochdale
  • Israeli model at rave hid inside a skip to escape Hamas terrorists
  • IDF posts video 'preparing for an attack in the north of Gaza'
  • William couldn't help but tease Kate: 'We'll be here all day'
  • Prince William gets a rock star welcome as he arrives in Singapore
  • Moment police drag JSO eco-zealots near to the base of Cenotaph
  • Shocking moment JSO eco-yobs smash painting at the National Gallery
  • Armistice Day: Rishi Sunak backs police to tackle criminality
  • Terrifying moment Philippines radio host shot dead during livestream

Femail Today

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  • Follow DailyMail
  • Subscribe Daily Mail
  • Follow @dailymail
  • Follow MailOnline
  • Follow Daily Mail

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  • Today's headlines

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  • San Jose shipwreck to dubbed 'the Holy Grail' to be exhumed off Colombia with $20 billion sunken treasure
  • Avengers stuntman Taraja Ramsess dies along with his three of his children, aged 13, 10 and two-months, when he crashed their truck into a semi along a Georgia interstate
  • Donald Trump attorney Alina Habba tears into 'unhinged' Judge Arthur Engoron for going 'red' in the face, slamming the table and telling her to sit down
  • Donald Trump testifies in New York fraud trial: Calls judge 'hostile', says he wants a jury and calls case a 'disgrace' as he ends appearance on the stand
  • Can the 'porn Dem' overcome webcam scandal to take victory in the Virginia elections: Glenn Youngkin faces major test of his grip on the state and the Republican Party with General Assembly elections
  • EXCLUSIVE: 'Tenant from hell' Elizabeth Hirschhorn warns landlord she will fight to return after police escort her from Los Angeles mansion - where she refused to pay rent for total of 575 days
  • Angelina Jolie's father Jon Voight blasts her 'lies' about Israeli war against Hamas saying he's 'disappointed' in the actress after she slammed the IDF for 'deliberately' killing children in Gaza airstrikes
  • The Hamas terrorist billionaires who live in marble-floored mansions and luxury hotels as they decry Gaza poverty after profiting from misery and terror
  • MAUREEN CALLAHAN: Sour, joyless Harry was already the prince of his own pyre, the architect of his own misery… and now, glowering at Katy Perry's glittering Vegas concert, he's officially become a colossal drag
  • Video shows the moment cops rescue five-year-old girl from inside tiny, secret closet in Arkansas home
  • Inside the secret life of Bubba Copeland: How Alabama mayor and pastor adopted a second persona online - becoming a transitioning curvy girl called Brittini - before killing himself
  • Incredible moment wealthy LA father pulls gun on masked home intruders who tried to break into luxury home with wife, nanny and baby inside, sending them fleeing in hail of bullets
  • The cr*ppiest place on Earth! Disney theme parks have been hit by so many people POOPING in lines for rides that cleaners now have special code to alert them to human feces
  • Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale's 'manifesto' leaked: Trans murderer vowed to kill 'privileged white kids' at Covenant School
  • Harry and Meghan insist Charles snubbed THEM over his 75th birthday party: New family row as couple say they had 'no contact' from Palace amid claims they refused to go - as pals ask if story was 'briefed to distract from how bad King's Kenya trip was'
  • Democrat strategist David Axelrod who led efforts to get Obama elected suggests Biden dropping out of 2024 after release of damning poll
  • Incest rape horror: Three brothers who subjected their sister to years of sickening sexual assaults are jailed in Ireland for abusing her and their child relatives after being 'taught to rape by their father'
  • EXCLUSIVE: Virginia socialite mom Eleanor Hunton Hoppe is offered a plea deal months after being arrested in child porn sting operation
  • Trump rips into 'biased' Judge Engoron and calls Letitia James 'racist, evil and corrupt' in rant as he prepares to testify TODAY in $250 million New York fraud trial
  • NJ political boss George Norcross, who was friends with Pelosi and a member of Mar-a-Lago, is kicked out of Philly football suite for flying Israel-America flag as security yanks down the banner while leading him from the stadium
  • 'Europe will be next': Netanyahu warns 'no one will be safe' if the Middle East falls to Iran's 'axis of terror' and insists Israel is engaged in a 'global battle'
  • EXCLUSIVE: Earl of Devon Charles Courtenay separated from his former Baywatch star wife AJ Langer after 'years of her struggling with homesickness and the stress of maintaining their 600-acre estate', friends claim
  • Democrat Socialist Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa is forced to resign after being branded a bully for trying to physically BLOCK female colleague from attending vote over whether to put sanctuary city status on ballot
  • Donald Trump takes the stand LATEST: Former president spars with judge as he testifies in Manhattan today and his lawyers are asked to 'control' him
  • American tourist, 55, has his teeth blasted out after being shot in the face during South African vacation after GPS took him through one of world's worst crime hotspots
  • Horrifying moment woman, 23, films her boyfriend shooting her dead: Diego Fonseca rushed Ielly Alves to hospital claiming she had been killed by thugs before cops found video
  • Jewish man, 65, dies while counter-protesting at pro-Palestine rally in California
  • Najeeb Khan sentenced to prison for $180million scam that saw him buy luxury cars and planes - with his wife allowed to keep $1M home
  • Saved from the clutches of Red Army! Smuggled out in a wheelbarrow then forgotten in a bank vault, a peerless collection of royal jewels goes on sale today...

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  • Back to top

Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd

Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

Cookie regulation logo

Where are the Any Dream Will Do winners now as ITV look to revive show Mamma Mia musical

Here we go again! Aspiring stars will compete for a role in the hit Abba musical, Mamma Mia

  • 15:29, 8 SEP 2022

Lee Mead performs as Joseph wearing the multi-coloured coat which spins around him

Get the latest entertainment news sent straight to your inbox with our weekly Showbiz newsletter

Thank you for subscribing!

We have more newsletters

ITV has revealed its plans to reboot the popular talent show set on finding new talent for West End shows. Any Dream Will Do was aimed at finding a new leading man to play Joseph in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest production.

The show was hosted by Graham Norton, who announced that Lee Mead was the winner following a public phone vote. Mead, who went on to play Joseph in the role for 600 performances until 2009, has had a very successful acting career on both stage and screen.

There have been four incarnations of the talent show, each having found successful stars in both winners and runners-up. The judging panel changed with each season, but experts have included Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Barrowman, Denise Van Outen, and Cameron Mackintosh.

Read more: Survivor set for BBC reboot after 20 years off UK screens

It has been reported that Amanda Seyfried, star of the blockbuster musical movies 'Mamma Mia!' and 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again', who played Sophie Sheridan in the flicks, might have a place on the judging panel.

How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria (2006)

Connie Fisher, a 23-year-old star born in Northern Ireland, was crowned the winner and offered a performance run as Maria on the West End. She opened to excellent reviews and performed in the role until 2008.

She continued a career in music and theatre, appearing at the Royal Variety Show and releasing a solo album. In 2011, she was diagnosed with holes in her vocal cords and was told she'd never sing again.

After working with a renowned voice builder, the BBC broadcast a documentary about Fisher's journey to sing again. She has since appeared in Casualty and as a judge for Junior Eurovision in Wales.

Any Dream Will Do (2007)

After being crowned the winner of Any Dream Will Do, Lee Mead enjoyed a successful West End career. He has performed in leading roles in Wicked, Legally Blonde and The West End Men.

He has released four solo albums and from 2014, he joined the cast of Casualty and Holby City where he played Ben 'Lofty' Chiltern until 2019. On 9 November 2019 Lee sang Morning Has Broken at the Annual Remembrance Day celebration service at The Royal Albert Hall.

I'd Do Anything (2008)

This version of the talent show sought to find a new Nancy in the 2009 revival of Oliver! Of 12 potential Nancy's that took part, Jodie Prenger from Blackpool was crowned the winner.

After a run in Oliver, Prenger played her final performance in March 2010, briefly reprising the role for two one-off performances to fill in. Since then she has joined the touring production of Spamalot and Candy Cabs, and played Miss Hannigan in the UK tour of Annie.

A number of successful theatre roles followed, including in Street of Dreams, the Coronation Street Musical, and Fat Friends the Musical before turning her eyes to TV. She has recently begun playing Glenda Shuttleworth in Coronation Street.

Other notable names in the lineup of I'd Do Anything include Academy Award nominee Jessie Buckley, who came second and West End star Samantha Barks, who came third.

Over the Rainbow (2010)

The last instalment of the talent show looked for a new Dorothy for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Wizard of Oz. After eight weeks of live shows, 18-year-old Danielle Hope was selected.

Since winning the show, Hope enjoyed a year in the role of Dorothy, alongside Michael Crawford before moving on to play Eponine in Les Miserables. She has played roles in a number of pantomimes and joined UK tours of the Sound of Music, Joseph, Grease and Rock of Ages.

Now performing across the pond, Hope was cast in an off-Broadway production of Kinky Boots. The show opened for previews on July 26 this year before enjoying its opening night on August 25 at Stage 42 in New York.

The new ITV series to find the next Mamma Mia star is set to air on TV screens next year.

Read more TV stories here

Family 'barely able to cover bills' left in tears as couple offer £30k lifeline

Meet the new Drag Race UK Queens ready to dazzle for series 4

Bill Turnbull kept BBC Breakfast co-star Sian Williams' secret for 25 years

Vernon Kay randomly starts breakdancing on This Morning as guest refuses to stop singing

Strictly Come Dancing stars give sneak peek of moves ahead of show launch

  • Amanda Seyfried
  • Les Miserables
  • Entertainment
  • Most Recent

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

NPO 2023-26

Musical theatre, backstage & technical, obituaries & archive, training & drama schools, broadway & international, edinburgh fringe, jobs & auditions, acting & performance, shakespeare, ‘how do you solve a problem like maria’.

West End Producer

Support The Stage by registering or subscribing

To continue reading this article you must be logged in. Register or login to unlock 3 free articles every month.

Or, even better, subscribe for unlimited access and help support independent journalism from as little as £5.99.

West End Producer

More from this author, hi, i’m west end producer: unmasked at last, ‘what is the best way to behave on a press night and party for my show’, 'i haven’t been to the theatre since 2020 – is it safe to go now', more on this topic.

The Time Traveller's Wife at the Apollo Theatre - review round-up

The Time Traveller's Wife at the Apollo Theatre - review round-up

Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall to receive honorary doctorate

Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall to receive honorary doctorate

Matthew Wolfenden: 'I said to Emmerdale: please don’t kill me off, I just need to do some theatre’

Matthew Wolfenden: 'I said to Emmerdale: please don’t kill me off, I just need to do some theatre’

BBC Shakespeare season to curb 'devastating' decline in kids' theatre access

BBC Shakespeare season to curb 'devastating' decline in kids' theatre access

We should remember that our art form exists in the collective experience, without access to theatre in schools, kids are denied more than just great art, remembering robert brustein, a contentious but influential figure in us theatre, the 'i was there' moments are what keeps theatregoing alive, united in drama: what the beautiful game shares with the stage, the arts council is failing freelancers yet again, what does mark cornell's shock departure mean for atg, bill kenwright leaves a huge gap in british theatre – and a surprising legacy, sooner than later: 6.30pm show times could be a smart, responsive move, david benedict’s highlights from 60 years of the national theatre, manchester royal exchange's decision to ditch artistic directors is a sign of the times, recommended for you, more from this author.

The Stage/Razzamataz Theatre Schools scholarship winners 2023

The Stage/Razzamataz Theatre Schools scholarship winners 2023

Matthew Greenhough: 'I spent 94 hours on my application and 271 hours on the presentation for my first job'

Matthew Greenhough: 'I spent 94 hours on my application and 271 hours on the presentation for my first job'

The Stage/All In Actors scholarship winners 2023

The Stage/All In Actors scholarship winners 2023

Anne Whitaker: 'I combined my love of language and speech by becoming a voice coach'

Anne Whitaker: 'I combined my love of language and speech by becoming a voice coach'

Producer Bill Kenwright dies aged 78

Producer Bill Kenwright dies aged 78

UK-wide access standards to end 'Wild West' booking for disabled theatregoers

UK-wide access standards to end 'Wild West' booking for disabled theatregoers

King lear review, the time traveller's wife review, emergency fund established to support theatre workers, macbeth production starring david tennant to use binaural technology, secret cinema planning venue for 'immersive theatre' in london, king lear starring kenneth branagh – review round-up, spotlight pauses roll-out of controversial £294 membership following backlash, police called to curve in leicester after staff member assaulted, and then there were none review, your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £5.99


© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2023

  • Cast & crew
  • User reviews

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? (2006)

Add a plot in your language

  • Graham Norton
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • John Barrowman
  • 1 User review
  • See more at IMDbPro
  • 1 nomination total

Graham Norton

  • Self - Presenter

Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • Self - Judge …

Siobhan Dillon

  • Self - Judge

Helena Blackman

  • All cast & crew
  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

More like this

Any Dream Will Do

Did you know

  • Connections Featured in A Taste of My Life: John Barrowman (2007)

User reviews 1

  • July 29, 2006 (United Kingdom)
  • United Kingdom
  • BBC (United Kingdom)
  • ハウ・ドゥー・ユー・ソルヴ・ア・プロブレム・ライク・マリア?
  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro

Technical specs

Related news, contribute to this page.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? (2006)

  • See more gaps
  • Learn more about contributing

More to explore

Production art

Recently viewed

10 set to solve the problem of Maria

Social sharing.

It's anybody's guess now who will be Maria.

The young women chosen by British producer Andrew Lloyd Webber as the best potential stars for a Toronto production of The Sound of Music were introduced in Toronto on Tuesday.

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

As they gave a spirited performance of the song How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria at the CBC broadcasting centre, it was clear they all had talent.

"Any single one of them could be Maria," said Elaine Overholt, their vocal coach and one of three judges, along with actor John Barrowman, star of Torchwood , and conductor Simon Lee, who will help shape the young women for the role.

The list of contestants has been whittled down over the past few weeks from 48 potential Marias, who attended "Maria School" where they were coached in singing and acting.

Ranging in age from 19 to 29, the contestants come from across Canada and have a variety of experience and training in musical theatre.

All are in the spotlight now as they vie for the role of Maria through CBC reality TV show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

"It's not a talent competition because all these girls are talented enough to play Maria," said Barrowman. "It's just a competition to choose the right Maria."

Barrowman said the Canadian contestants have "a little more edge" than the British contestants in the BBC version of the competition two years ago.

Some like Jayme Armstrong, 25, of Richmond, B.C., have extensive performance experience. She began performing at age five, took part in a U.S. tour of Forever Swing at age 18, has appeared on stage at Stratford and most recently performed in White Christmas .

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

"What I struggled with initially was I was really conscious about how I would be perceived on camera," she told CBC News.

Like many of the contestants, she was nervous that a reality TV competition would be difficult, with critical judges and differences between the contestants played up.

Instead, she found constructive criticism — and some real compliments from Lloyd Webber himself.

"He told me I was an intelligent actress and performer," she said. "All the judges really are interested in teaching you."

Armstrong learned all the music before she qualified for one of the top spots and now is concentrating on her performance.

"I felt it is important to put myself into the role," she said. "Julie Andrews was the iconic Maria von Trapp, so I'm trying to perform it, not as an imitation but a real performance with some of me in it."

Kyla Tingley, 24, of Dartmouth, N.S., earned a spot in the top 10 although she has no recent professional theatre experience.

Tingley was nominated for an East Coast Music Award with her band The Chronicles, but hasn't performed in musical theatre for nearly three years.

"I had to remember back to what I learned about musical theatre. Maria School was great for that," she said. 

Tingley got some surprising criticism from the judges, who told her her eyes were lifeless.

how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

"It was hard to hear, but I don't want to look like a zombie on stage or for the camera," she said, describing how she worked on her eyes in front of the mirror.

Janna Polzin, 24, was her roommate in Maria School and they worked together on making their eyes stand out on stage.

Polzin says she prepared for the role by doing some research into the real Maria von Trapp, a woman who raised nine children and ushered them over the mountains out of reach of the Nazis.

"There are definite strong characteristics of the real woman — she was firm, stern. But the world knows Maria von Trapp as Julie Andrews. You have find some middle ground between them."

Polzin says she started out interested in visual arts, until she was lured into singing and joined an acting troupe in her hometown of Woodstock, Ont.

"The techniques of being on stage are different from being on TV," she said. "I was nervous about being before the cameras all the time."

The other contestants for the role of Maria are:

  • Tamara Fifield, 21, of Truro, N.S. , who is trained as an opera singer.
  • Allie Hughes, 22, of Toronto, a singer-performer who is member of a band in Toronto.
  • Alison Jutzi, 29, of Guelph, Ont., now based in Toronto, who has recorded a CD, Sandals.  
  • Katie Kerr, 19, of Windsor, Ont. , who is a vocal student at University of Windsor.
  • Donna Lajeunesse, 22, of Bowmanville, Ont., a professional dog groomer who has appeared on stage as Nancy in Oliver!  
  • Elicia MacKenzie, 23, of Vancouver, B.C.,who trained in theatre at Capilano College. 
  • Marisa McIntyre, 25, of Waterloo, Ont. , who played Sophie for two years in Mamma Mia!

The winner takes on the role of Maria in a Mirvish production of The Sound of Music to begin this fall in Toronto.

Beginning Sunday, the top 10 will give a live performance on CBC-TV's How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? trying to impress viewers with their abilities.

Canadians can vote for their favourite Maria online, via phone or text message.

Related Stories

  • How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?


  1. BBC

    how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  2. Where are they now? How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?

    how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  3. How do you solve a problem like Maria?

    how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  4. How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria? (TV Series)

    how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  5. Where are they now? How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?

    how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now

  6. Sound Of Music How To Solve A Problem Like Maria

    how do you solve a problem like maria where are they now


  1. E? EP3

  2. E? EP4

  3. E? EP3

  4. J? EP1

  5. J? EP5

  6. How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? contest commercial (2008)


  1. What Are the Six Steps of Problem Solving?

    The six steps of problem solving involve problem definition, problem analysis, developing possible solutions, selecting a solution, implementing the solution and evaluating the outcome. Problem solving models are used to address issues that...

  2. How to Solve Common Maytag Washer Problems

    Maytag washers are reliable and durable machines, but like any appliance, they can experience problems from time to time. Fortunately, many of the most common issues can be solved quickly and easily. Here’s a look at how to troubleshoot som...

  3. Sudoku for Beginners: How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

    Are you a beginner when it comes to solving Sudoku puzzles? Do you find yourself frustrated and unsure of where to start? Fear not, as we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to improve your problem-solving skills through Sudoku.

  4. How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?

    How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria? was a British reality television talent show that documented the search for an undiscovered musical theatre performer

  5. Connie Fisher

    Connie Fisher (born 17 June 1983) is a British actress, singer and TV presenter, who won the BBC One talent contest, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

  6. Whatever happened to the OTHER Marias and Josephs?

    Connie Fisher and Lee Mead became critically acclaimed West End stars after winning talent shows How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and

  7. Emilie speaks out over how she solved her problem with Maria

    ... Solve A Problem Like Maria? BBC television show last year. Now she ... they made me sing again," she said. The director of Albert Herring

  8. How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria Episode 4 Week 1 Main

    How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria Episode 4 Week 1 Main Show BBC Copy. 48K views · 3 years ago ...more

  9. Interview with Connie Fisher

    http://www.thesoundofmusictour.com/ We catch up with How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? winner Connie Fisher, currently bringing her

  10. Where are the Any Dream Will Do winners now as ITV look to revive

    How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria (2006). Connie Fisher, a 23-year-old star born in Northern Ireland, was crowned the winner and offered

  11. Dear West End Producer: 'How do you solve a problem like Maria?'

    However, this year has been surprising because of the array of musical-theatre talent on the show. And for once, they have been accepted. So

  12. How DO You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Or Any Other ...

    Get her to conform to traditions. These are the proverbial band-aids, all quick fixes. The nuns would have saved a lot of stress, strained

  13. How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? (TV Series 2006– )

    How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?: With Graham Norton, Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Barrowman, David Ian.

  14. 10 set to solve the problem of Maria

    All are in the spotlight now as they vie for the role of Maria through CBC reality TV show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? "It's not