It’ll be a grand Day when Darren comes to town...

Darren Day
Darren Day
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Darren Day has a problem. He wants to talk about his career and how happy he is, whereas everyone else wants to ask about the past – the drugs and the women.

Day was what you might call a bit of a lad back in the day, when he got up to all sorts of things he isn’t proud of.

I think that’s why, as I feel it’s only right to confess, I had a bit of a downer on him too going into our interview.

All I can do now is apologise because it turns out – based, at any rate, on the 15-minute conversation we had – he’s a very decent and likeable bloke.

Day, who comes to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre on Monday in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (a musical about a spelling competition in the States and a massive hit on Broadway, winning six Tony awards), was born in Colchester, spent five years learning his trade as a Butlins redcoat, then found fame in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the West End in the early 90s.

A string of stories in the tabloids about his romances with high-profile celebrities (Anna Friel, Isla Fisher, Suzanne Shaw) plus a cocaine habit blighted him for a long time. It later emerged he had been the victim of News of the World phone hacking (they admitted it and settled earlier in the year).

All the while, Day, now 45, managed to continue an impressive career in the West End and on TV and has just filmed his debut film, Rudy, out next year. In short he’s obviously a very talented and successful man, which must make it even more annoying that certain people still hark back to the past.

“Look, what happened, happened,” he says. “But the Darren Day in the tabloids ... that person to me now feels like third party. Those headlines are from a decade ago.

“I am very happily married now. I’ve been with my wife for eight years, have beautiful children and – dare I say it – I’m mature ... well, as mature as I’m ever likely to get.

“I think I let a lot of it go when the News of the World admitted they’d hacked me. When you see the evidence in black and white of how many times a day your voice mail has been accessed by them over so many years...

“But now’s it’s over, I think that has helped me close the door. I’ve got a letter of apology from News International and framed it and put it in the toilet. I did have me shaking the Queen’s hand, but that’s been promoted to one of other rooms now.

“Life feels good again. I’ve closed the door on my past and I’m at peace with it now.”

So to the show on Monday, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical – though oddly, for once, Day doesn’t sing.

“That seemed strange but then I read the script and my part – Vice Principal Douglas Panch – is a fantastic comedy role and I love doing comedy, in fact I’ve not done enough of it,” Day said.

“It is a terrific show, some great characters, terrific songs, and was huge in America. We weren’t sure how it would go down over here really but we haven’t had a show yet where there hasn’t been a standing ovation.”

Tickets are available from or (01253) 743339.