Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber will not scour the UK for another West End star in 2009, he has confirmed.

The impresario has helped Lee Mead, Connie Fisher and Jodie Prenger find fame through BBC1 reality programmes but intends to take a rest from "the casting show".

Sir Andrew could last be seen on I'd Do Anything, which saw Prenger awarded the part of Nancy in Sir Cameron Mackintosh's upcoming Oliver! revival while three young hopefuls will share the title role.

But despite a BBC spokesperson stressing that the corporation "looks forward" to working with the composer, he told Closer magazine his sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera is occupying the majority of his time.

"I have my own musical in Phantom two to get on with and bits and pieces to do in America, the 60-year-old said.

"There will not be another custom show with the BBC next year - [not] with me anyway. But I will do the search in 2010 to find Dorothy and possibly Toto the dog," he added, referring to a planned production of The Wizard of Oz.

"The problem with Phantom two is I can't produce the show in full. So I can't commit to a BBC show until 2010.

"I can't just do them - I need to be involved in producing it and you need a team, a theatre and everything else. And Phantom two is my first concern right now."

Sir Andrew also argued that unlike its predecessors How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do, I'd Do Anything was less successful as he was not directly involved with the resulting West End production.

"I think Oliver! didn't connect half as well with the public because neither had I wrote Oliver! or was I producing it," he explained.

"I think the public like the thought of my head being on the block so to speak. That it's a risk. The BBC can't be seen to be promoting my work.

"I enjoyed doing Oliver! and there were good kids that came out of it. But I don't think it had quite the same range of appeal."


09/09/2008 10:38:36