kara-tointonThis Christmas, Britain will be alive with The Sound Of Music Live! Following in the footsteps of the unrelated 2013 NBC special that was produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, ITV will present a new dramatization of the world’s most popular musical. The network is billing the 2 1/2-hour musical drama as the “must see” event of the year. It’s the first time a project like this has been attempted for UK television.

The NBC version was a midweek ratings hit in December 2013, drawing 18.6M viewers and spawning an annual tradition for the network. ITV Studios is producing this take with Bafta-nominated helmer Coky Giedroyc (Wuthering Heights, Penny Dreadful) as Creative Director and Tony winner Martin Koch (Billy Elliot The Musical) as Musical Director. The live television director is Richard Valentine (Strictly Come Dancing), with André Ptaszynski, Lee Connolly and Fiona Clark exec producing.

Starring as Maria in the role made indelible on film by Julie Andrews is Mr Selfridge‘s Kara Tointon. Julian Ovenden (Downton Abbey) is Captain Georg von Trapp, Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge) is Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong is Max Detweiler.

London’s Three Mills Studios will house the production that’s based on the original stage musical with a book by Lindsay & Crouse. The show will include all of the songs from its classic score by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

There’s no exact airdate yet, but it will fall during the holiday period.