BBC to Air Opera About Anna Nicole Smith

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Good news folks. Well, if good news to you means that the BBC is to broadcast an opera based on the life and times of former Playboy model and reality TV star, Anna Nicole Smith.

Anna Nicole – The Opera will give the lowdown on Smith’s contentious marriage to oil tycoon J Howard Marshall – all together now, “He was more than 60 years older than her!” – in 1994 and the subsequent legal battle over the settlement of his estate after his death the following year. As for the ending (spoiler alert!), one imagines it will portray the 39 year-old dying from a prescription drugs overdose in 2007. A death at the denouement of an opera is nothing new but even Puccini might have balked at this plot.

The production is a collaboration between BBC Productions, the Royal Opera House and award winning composer Mark Anthony Turnage. The title role has gone to Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, who does indeed bear a striking resemblance to Smith. The show is due to be broadcast on BBC4 in early 2011 but it’s unknown if a U.S. network will pick it up.

BBC4 controller Richard Klein said: “BBC4 is the channel that seeks to offer television to those parts of the brain that other television channels don’t reach.” It’s fair to say that the station has succeeded in its reach. Whether or not that’s a good thing is another story. Or, indeed, opera.

— Frances Perraudin