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International location, producer sought to get Voice of Ukraine final over the line

The Voice of Ukraine

Finnish prodco Yellow Film & TV has called on the international industry to show support for Ukraine by providing a way to produce the finale of the country’s version of singing format The Voice.

The 12th season of The Voice of Ukraine, hosted by Yuri Gorbanuv and Kateryna Osadcha, premiered on January 23 this year. Five episodes aired on local broadcaster 1+1  before the Russian invasion began on February 24.

The conflict effectively forced the Ukrainian TV industry to shut down, with broadcasters unable to produce any new content other than war reportage. Many men working in the industry left their homes and careers behind to help defend their country against Russian troops.

The Voice of Ukraine eventually returned on October 9 on entertainment channel TET. It screened a further two episodes filmed nine months earlier, with additional footage of the contestants paying tribute to the soldiers fighting on the frontline.

However, with no end in sight to the conflict, there is almost no hope that the season can be completed unless foreign producers step in to help.

“They can’t film the final of The Voice of Ukraine, because it needs to be live with an audience in a studio,” said entertainment producer Anna-Maria Meurman of Yellow Film & TV, which is pushing for more help for Ukraine from the international production industry. “So it would be great if another country could offer to shoot the final for them, pro bono.

“My Ukrainian friends tell me their people really need feel-good entertainment so they can forget about the horrible situation they find themselves in for a short while.”

As reported by C21 yesterday, Yellow Film & TV recorded a special one-off show The Song of My Life: Ukraine in Finland and gave it to 1+1 to broadcast entirely free of charge.

Yellow hopes its example will inspire production companies around the world to make more pro bono shows for the war-torn country, starring Ukrainian talent, presenters and celebrities.

“There are a lot of international versions of The Voice,” said Yellow CEO Olli Haikka. “So if a country is already filming a series, it shouldn’t be too difficult to offer their studio to record and produce the final there.

“I hope this is the start of something much bigger and there will be more one-off Ukrainian specials of famous formats. Ukraine’s Got Talent, for example, should be relatively easy, and I could also see it working with brands such as Strictly Come Dancing, MasterChef or Saturday Night Live.”

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