David Ian, one of the brains behind ITV’s upcoming drama Britannia High, is adamant that it’s nothing like High School Musical.

Theatre producer David, who came up with the idea with Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, says that there are obvious differences between his show, which focuses on a group of talented youngsters who attend a top stage school in London, and Disney’s hit musical.

Speaking at the Britainnia High launch in London, the former Grease Is The Word judge said: “The biggest difference is that it’s not about a high school where people just burst into song and dance for no reason.

“It is a school for the performing arts; the students are there to study singing, dancing and acting and therefore it’s a legitimate reason as to why they are as talented as they are.”

Arlene added: “I’m told that three-year-olds sing along to High School Musical – this isn’t for three-year-olds. There are some very emotional stories here and while young kids can appreciate them, it’s not for little kids.”

The show’s producer Gareth Philips said: “Those comparisons are inevitable except this show is British – it’s about the best of British talent. And that’s what we should be proud of.”

David was also keen to point out that Britannia High was NOT another X Factor-style talent search, but hoped that it would offer food for thought for those wanting a career in showbusiness.

David said: “I’m hoping it will be a reality check, if you’ll pardon the pun, that this is what it really takes to be [in this business]. People will realise it’s not just about appearing very quickly on television and becoming famous overnight.”

Britannia High is expected to air weekends from October – but the first episode will debut online a week prior to transmission at the dedicated Britannia High website www.britanniahigh.com.

Fans can also enjoy Britannia High content via social networking site Bebo.com and mobile downloads and an album and DVD will be released in November.