The Piano



Claudia Winkleman


Lang Lang (2023-24)
Jon Batiste (2024-)


Love Productions for Channel 4, 15 February 2023 to present


Amateur pianists are invited to play on public pianos in various train stations of the UK where they will be secretly watched by two judges and the winning pianist in each heat is given an invitation to perform in the final at the Royal Festival Hall in London, where an overall winner is named. These decision points can be seen as a prize. The Piano isn't about the prize, but the journey.

One of the invited players makes music.

The Piano was highly praised by both critics and viewers for its warm and wholesome tone throughout its five week run. The contestants themselves are not only very talented, but also have the most heart-warming and emotional backstories that never felt forced. You hear that, Britain's Got Talent? You don't need tons of fast editing and flashy visual effects on your contestants for dramatic effect, you just need to let the footage tell the story.

An average of 2.7 million viewers saw the whole series. Channel 4 said in December 2023 that the first episode had racked up 49.6 million streaming minutes on its catch-up service, putting it 12th among series with the most streamed episodes of the year.

Channel 4 has faith in its format: we heard in July 2023 that not only a second, but a third series had been commissioned and each would have an extended seven episode run in 2024. A Christmas special with pianists from the first series performing Christmas carols went out on Christmas night, with a documentary on the first series winner Lucy Illingworth to follow.

Claudia Winkleman (right) and a piano.

Considering the amount of new and existing shows Channel 4 had to axe in the first half of 2023, it felt like a breath of fresh air for them to recommission a show that they have faith in. Also, this could be the start of a golden era for Claudia Winkleman considering how well this and last year's The Traitors did with critics and viewers.


2023 Lucy Illingworth
2024 Brad Kellaher


Richard McKerrow


The last episode from the first series featured a lot of preparation and chatter during the performances. An uncut concert was shown on More4 immediately afterwards.

Web links

Channel 4 programme page

Wikipedia entry

See also

Love Production's other game shows: The Great British Bake Off, The Great British Sewing Bee, The Great Pottery Throw Down


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