From the second the newly arranged opening bars of the legendary 'Fame' theme tune blasted out of the cinema speakers, I feared the worst. Would this be just a useless rip-off of the original 1980 'Fame' film and subsequent hit TV series? Not quite, but it doesn't come close to the Alan Parker cult classic.

Over 10,000 performers apply to New York's School of Performing Arts (PA) each year and only 200 talented students are accepted. An eclectic mix from diverse backgrounds and disciplines unite in their endeavour to graduate PA, in order to go on to bigger and better things and live the dream of the title.

Debbie Allen, who plays the earnest Principal Simms, is the only actress from the original film and TV series in this adaptation, although writer Christopher Gore has also returned. He and co-writer Allison Burnett make the clever move to create a new slate of characters - it would have proved nigh on impossible to top the Leroy-led gang of yore.

It may be lacking an unforgettable soundtrack (how fans will miss 'High Fidelity', 'Starmaker' and 'Friday Nights'), and the clichéd political and economical struggles may not hold up against Parker's original, but what this newbie is missing in heart and soul it makes up for in stylish entertainment.

This teen 'High School Musical' has some of the original 'Fame' factor; likeable cast, talented performing artists and moral messages, yet this is the glossy version. The kids are better looking, the budget is higher, the dance numbers glitzier - plus there are cameos from a couple of well-known stars such as Kelsey Grammer and Megan Mullally.

As Justin Lee Collins proved with his recent 'Bring Back Fame' TV show, it was one of the unique popcultural phenomena of the 80s - the precursor to modern day 'American Idol's and 'X-Factor's. But that was then... the backdrop has changed.

Now there is such a glut of entertainment choices that it's hard to believe that whole generations of teens dedicated their Thursdays to 'Top of the Pops' followed by a weekly dose of 'Fame'. New York is a different, less crime filled, more friendly place, and fame or famous people are ten a penny.

For audiences too young to remember the original 'Fame' film, this will entertain, but for true fans, this may only tickle, rather than hit, the nostalgia spot. There'll only ever be one, so "Baby, remember my name."

Taragh Loughrey-Grant