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60 Seconds with Holby City star Lee Mead

The musical theatre and Holby City star, 36, is pleased he survived the show’s recent carnage — he has an anniversary tour to be getting on with.

What can people expect from the tour and the album?

It’s ten years since I did Any Dream Will Do and played Joseph in the West End so it’s a reflection of what I’ve done since then. The album’s songs are from shows I’ve done including Miss Saigon, Phantom Of The Opera and Wicked.

Do you have a typical fan?

I’ve got some very loyal fans. There’s a group of about 200 that come to see everything I do. When I did Chitty Chitty Bang Bang last year they came to four shows a week. It’s a mix — since doing Casualty, more teenagers have been coming, musical theatre fans of all ages and one lady is 91. She’s been coming to my shows for the past ten years. It’s great to have that support.

You’re in Holby City now. Are you staying?

I was in Casualty but it was filmed in Cardiff so I didn’t get to see my daughter much so I left and did Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They then asked me to play my character from Casualty in Holby City. It’s great — it’s closer to London so I can see my daughter more and do things like the school run. She’s seven so it’s important I’m around and not on tour for a year.

Co-star: Holby’s Joe McFadden won Strictly

There was a bloodbath in Holby City recently. When that’s announced does everyone panic they’ll get sacked?

That’s quite often the case. I’d just signed up for another year at that point so I knew I was safe. It was great to shoot those episodes — it was very intense and it was exciting to do a different sort of storyline.

The NHS is in crisis. Should there be more patients waiting on trolleys for treatment in Holby City?

The show reflects reality but it’s a TV drama. The writers on the show go to hospitals each week to research the storylines and we have doctors on set to make sure we’re doing things correctly. It’s close to reality but you’ve got to have a certain number of storylines and dramas in each episode.

On some singing shows people say ‘I’m a plumber’ but they’ll have actually done 100 gigs that year

Your co-star Joe McFadden won Strictly. Would you want to do it?

I’d like to give Strictly a go. They asked me a few years ago but I was in a musical so I couldn’t do it. It’d be fun to do it and my daughter would enjoy it. It would mean being judged by a panel and going through a phone vote again, though, so maybe not.

And viewers complain people from musicals have an unfair advantage…

Yes, I’m not sure what the rules are. I think there’s a problem if you’re dishonest. When I did Any Dream Will Do I said I’d done musicals but I’d never had the lead role. It’s better to be upfront. On some singing shows people say ‘I’m a plumber’ but they’ll have actually done 100 gigs that year.

Does your daughter show any signs of wanting to go into showbiz?

No. If she did, me and her mum would support her but we wouldn’t push her into anything. At the moment she wants to be a teacher so hopefully she’ll stick with that. I spent years not earning much money and doing odd jobs. Ninety per cent of actors are out of work so it has to be a passion.

Technicolor dream: Lee as Joseph

What sort of jobs were you doing?

When I was 20 I was singing on a P&O ferry. I had a great time but I wasn’t earning much money and I was unemployed for half the year. I give talks in colleges — people sometimes think they’ll leave college, get on telly straight away, become famous and earn a lot of money. That only happens to a very small percentage of people. Just before Joseph I was working in a pub and my friend had just qualified as a lawyer and was earning loads of money. But I was happy. I was doing what I loved.

What do you tell the students?

I just give them an insight into the profession. It can be sugarcoated a bit at college so I tell them what it’s really like. As a society we’re really into this celebrity culture. People think success will come instantly but it isn’t about that, it’s about having a passion for something and working hard to achieve it — but there’s still no guarantee you will.

Lee Mead’s album, Ten Years, is out now. His anniversary tour starts at the Corn Exchange, Newbury, on Saturday. For more dates, go to