Ian steps forward with a talking camel and loincloth

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
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“We’ve got talking camels, an Elvis impersonator and me in a loincloth. There you go.”

This is how Ian ‘H’ Watkins, from ‘90s pop group Steps, sums up Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat - the famous musical in which he has bagged the coveted leading role.

One of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s creations (with Tim Rice), Joseph is based on a Biblical story in which a colourful coat causes a fraternal dispute.

The musical is coming to Blackpool in October.

A course in musical theatre aided the transition from pop star to leading role for Watkins.

“The reason I went back to college is that I was very aware that as I was doing Joseph in the West End, I had all these tools, but I didn’t really know how to access them, and use different vocal techniques,” he said.

“So if I wanted to do this long term job, then I needed to invest in myself as a performer.”

The pop group, Steps, reached success in 1997, performing in Blackpool nonetheless, before splitting in 2001.

Watkins recalls some of his favourite and least favourite memories of his time in Steps: “There are so many.

“We won the Brit Awards, touring with Britney Spears; they were some of the best ones,” he said.

“Some of the worst ones - literally not sleeping for three days...Things that you kind of look back on and go ‘how was that humanly possible?’”

Despite their popularity, Watkins said that in the late ‘90s, fame and success did not come easily.

“It wasn’t as instant as people who are catapulted to the top these days,” he explained.

“We slogged so hard for two years before anybody knew us. We had tours and theatre tours - not the instant success that everybody expects with The X Factor these days, so, when it came around, we really appreciated it.”

Watkins cited poor communication as reasons for the group’s parting in 2001.

“It was a bit like a bad marriage that broke down,” he claimed. “We didn’t communicate - we didn’t tell each other how we were feeling.”

Watkins has been a lifelong visitor of Blackpool and says that he used to come to the resort when he was little.

“I love Blackpool. When we were kids we used to watch the Illuminations,” he said. “It was a major event for me and my brother. I love it.”

Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat is on from Tuesday October 1 to Saturday October 5 at the Opera House. Tickets available from www.blackpoollive.co.uk