Kathryn Thomas and John Murray have announced that RTÉ's Operation Transformation is on the search for leaders for the next season of the show.
Speaking to RTÉ TEN, the show's presenter Thomas spoke about the fifth season of the show: "It’s back and I think we’ve got the format because if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. There’s not going to be a huge amount of changes because the show is really all about the five brave people who fill out the application form and take part in the show in order to change their lives."
She added: "The audience are there, it’s a very involved show for them because of the radio [RTÉ Radio 1's The John Murray Show], TV and the web. It's just to get the whole nation behind weight loss, to get a little bit more healthy for two months."
In relation to the new season of Operation Transformation in January 2012, Thomas said: "It’s at that time of the year, January or February where we’ve all had Christmas and had too much excess. It’s about looking for these five people who are going to lead the nation and let us follow their journey for the couple of weeks."
On Wednesday November 9 RTÉ Radio 1’s The John Murray Show will feature a final selection of 25 applicants who will gather together for the first time to be assessed. John will talk to the potential leaders about their personal stories and why they think they have what it takes to be a leader for Operation Transformation.
The following week Kathryn Thomas will travel to the homes of the five selected leaders to unveil their participation in the series live on John’s radio show at 9am.
Radio 1 presenter, John spoke about his experience of working on the last season of the show: "For me the best part was meeting the individuals who became our leaders and following their path through the weeks and months.
"The difficulties they had, they were stories that people could relate to over the course of the series and the weigh-ins were fantastic excitement, both on radio and television. I think people loved the human drama because let’s face it, these five people could be any of the 500,000 or 300,000, whatever the figure is of people who have difficulties with their weight...
"There were times that were really tough for individuals and I think that’s what the success of this series is down to, this isn’t makey-up or fabricated, this is the real thing, people struggle. The great thing about it in 2011 is that they succeeded for the most part and hopefully next year it’ll be the same."
Kathryn said that she admired the people who take part in the show: "It does work, there’s a huge support structure there from the entire team, I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to do it and that’s just saying it plain and simple.
"It’s a very brave thing to do, to expose yourself, to have the nation, newspapers and everybody talking about you and looking at you and to have the pressure week in week out. But if people really want to change their lives, this does work and the whole team is there to support you, if you decide to go on this journey."
The audience interaction with the show is being made easier this year, as Kathryn revealed: "This year, they’re bringing out an Operation Transformation App which is a new concept for the show. I think it’s timely that they did it because this is a 360 degree television, radio, web concept for the programme, the web was really important because it meant that you could choose the leader you wanted to follow, click on that person and follow their diet from day one.
"What the App then allows you to do is that we have supermarkets come on board that were doing Operation Transformation meal plans and it just means that you have it on your phone, it’s constantly updating your progress, you can constantly put your weight in and then it just means you take your phone out in supermarkets and press what you need to get and it’s all there for you. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible and for the contestants as well."
If you are interested in applying for series five of the show, here's how: "What people need to do is have a look at the website, it’s www.rte.ie/ot and there’s an application form there."
She added: "Don’t think about it anymore, stop talking about it, stop being upset about your weight...just do it, don’t put it off anymore."
John shared his view: "Rather than people dithering or wondering whether they should fill out the application form, if they’re familiar with the series, they’ll know that if they’re going to sign up for it, they’re going to have to be serious because people will take their lead from them.
"Don’t be weighing it up...no pun intended, just do it!"