Gorillaz creators, Blur frontman Damon Albarn and original Tank Girl illustrator Jamie Hewlett, reinvented their virtual band of characters for the Chinese opera, Monkey: Journey To The West, which they’re now using to promote the BBC ‘s coverage of the Beijing Olympics.

After announcing in 2007 that Gorillaz wouldn’t be releasing anymore studio pop albums, Albarn and Hewlett adapted The Monkey King, an ancient Chinese story about a hyperactive ape who leads a revolt against heaven and achieves immortality.

The production, composed by Albarn, designed by Hewlitt and directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, is a mix of animations, live-action circus performances and Mandarin songs. It premiered to a standing ovation at the Manchester International Festival last summer and just re-opened at London’s Royal Opera House on Wednesday night.

An album based on the successful opera is already in the works and set to be released this summer.

BBC began airing the Olympics-inspired clip of Monkey: Journey To The West on Thursday and will broadcast it as the opening title sequence for their Beijing Olympics coverage.

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Samir Shah, a member of the BBC’s board of directors, is criticizing network execs for “cloning” themselves offscreen, while “flickering” minorities onscreen, according to the Guardian.

In many of the UK networks’ television shows (including the popular soap, EastEnders), Shah says execs are hiring those like them behind the scenes to call the shots, but are overcompensating for their lack of executive diversity by putting minority actors onscreen—even if the roles they play have nothing to do with their race.

Shah says this had led to a “world of deracinated coloured people flickering across our screens—to the irritation of many viewers and the embarrassment of the very people such actions are meant to appease.”

PHOTO: Courtesy of BBC

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