It’s not often that a television programme captures the hearts of adults and children alike but American hit show, Glee, has achieved just that. With two TV series behind them and a third already commissioned, a staggering number of singles and albums sold and Glee world tours, it’s nigh impossible to avoid Glee-mania so we have put together this concise guide to get you up to speed on everything you need to know about the world of Glee.
Glee is set in Ohio, USA and centres around the members of the William McKinley High School glee club and their star Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele. Teacher Will Scheuster, played by Matthew Morrison, is the glee club’s director and spends almost every episode trying to prevent cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, who is competing for funding, from sabotaging the glee club’s plans.
Glee fans are affectionately referred to as Gleeks, due to their dedication to the show and everything connected with it. There are novels, games, clothing, accessories and now even a film is in production. The show airs on Fox in the States and originally on E4 in the UK, where it was the channel’s biggest viewing hit. Since E4 refused to pay the inflated asking price for season 3, Glee will now be shown on Sky 1 HD in the UK.
All songs sung by the Glee cast are available digitally immediately after the episode is aired and their version of Don’t Stop Believin’, which featured on the very first show, was certified gold in November 2009 after achieving over half a million digital downloads. In total, Glee have sold over twenty-one million singles, nine million albums and have beaten Elvis’ record of having the most songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Many episodes follow a theme, be it one particular artist, a musical or a musical genre. Perhaps Glee’s most famous episode, The Power Of Madonna featured many of the Queen of Pop’s most famous songs, a cameo from the lady herself and a great performance from Sue Sylvester who imitated the iconic Vogue video. A Glee album was released after the show aired and, predictably, topped the charts.
Britney Spears was another top name to lend her music to an episode of the show and even made a well-received cameo, although it was left to the Glee cast to perform her hits. Other acts whose songs have featured on the show include Rhianna, Beyonce, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Kings Of Leon, Bryan Adams and Foo Fighters have all denied Glee permission from using their songs on the show. English rockers Coldplay initially refused but after suffering some pretty bad press, Chris Martin relented and allowed Glee access to their back catalogue.
In series two, Gwyneth Paltrow was introduced as substitute teacher, Holly Holiday. Playing a comedy character and showcasing an impressive singing voice that no one knew existed pre-Glee. The actress has seen her star rise considerably since appearing on the show, even joining the Glee cast on various dates of their tour including a recent date in London.