The name game is fine for Shane Jr

Cast of Boogie Nights, with Shane Richie Jnr far right

Cast of Boogie Nights, with Shane Richie Jnr far right

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MOST people think having famous parents makes life easier. I’d argue otherwise.

Granted it must be quite nice when you’re young – going on the poshest holidays, getting the best presents at Christmas.

But there comes a point when you need to be your own person, and having a mum and dad in the public eye can make that tricky.

For Shane Richie Junior, it’s even tougher – mainly because of that name. It doesn’t take a genius to work out who his dad is.

With mum Coleen Nolan, former pop star and a regular on television (Loose Women, Celebrity Big Brother), it is hard for Shane to make a name in his own right.

That’s why it‘s to his credit that, at the age of 24, he is looking like doing exactly that.

Richie Jnr has a mega-busy 2013 lined up, circling the UK in the hit musical Boogie Nights alongside the likes of Jimmy Osmond and Gareth Gates (the show arrives in Blackpool next month) before heading on a national tour fronting his own band.

He reckons he’ll get “a couple of weeks breather” in November before he stars in a pantomime next Christmas.

What’s refreshing about Richie Jnr is that, despite the attention he’s had from an early age, he’s kept his feet very much on the ground.

“It does make it harder, not least because of the name. I can’t get away from it, so there is an expectation straight away when I perform,” he said.

“And with Boogie Nights, immediately people think ‘well he’s got that job because his dad used to be in it’ (Richie Snr starred years ago) and I’m not going to lie, it probably did help. But the fact is that I had to prove myself and they wouldn’t have given it me if I wasn’t good enough.”

Richie Jnr moved to Blackpool at the age of 11 when his parents divorced, mum Coleen returning to her home town.

After leaving St Mary’s Catholic College, he worked in Burton’s menswear shop before cutting his teeth in the showbiz world as a Bluecoat at Pontins.

“I did that for 18 months and it was great because it taught me so much,” he said. “I learned to sing and dance, and how to talk to an audience.” He has toured as a singer for the past couple of years and appeared in pantomime in Wycombe before Christmas.

To this day, when his schedule allows, he plays Sunday football for the Pump and Truncheon pub on Bonny Street – driving back from Exeter for one game.

“I know that’s bordering on madness but I just love my footie.”

At the moment though, sport is having to take a back seat, with Richie Jnr a fortnight into a 13-week run of Boogie Nights playing Roddy O’Neil, the narrator.

When that ends, he is out on the road with his band – three local lads, Jack Lavelle, Dave Benkel and Matt Bamber.

They play Revolution in Blackpool on April 26, before starting a UK tour playing cover versions of everything from Example, to Prince and Michael Jackson.

* You can catch Shane in Boogie Nights at the Opera House on Sunday March 31.

Tickets are available from www.blackpoollive.com