Having stared Saturday morning drama classes as a tot Todd Carty’s “cheeky face” was spotted by television commercial producers to appear in advertisements for chocolates and baked beans.
“As I got older I went up the family tree,” he said and soon made his stage debut as the young Lionel in the musical about composer Lionel Bart’s life.
By 13 he was playing Tucker in Grange Hill for five years before he starred in its spin-off, Tucker’s Luck. But he is best known as Mark Fowler in EastEnders, a role he played for 12 years followed by a major part in The Bill.
“I got very lucky in that I was the television regularly from the age of 13 to 40,” he says modestly.
Add to that directing several episodes of Doctors and the film A Perfect Burger for the British Youth Film Academy last year – and his “unforgettable appearance” on Dancing On Ice and he admits his career has had plenty of variety.
“It’s nice to try to do different things,” says Todd. “It’s been a busy time but you just get on with it. I suppose it’s all been a bit weird – but not to be doing anything is the alternative.”
He admits Dancing In Ice was a challenge.
“I live near Alexandra Palace ice rink so I thought I’d be ok but my son was better in six weeks than I was after six months,” says. “I thought they were joking when they asked me but once they talked me through it I thought they were madder for asking me than I was for accepting – and anyway the great British public always love the underdog.”
And so to Spamalot – which opens at Blackpool Grand tonight.
“It’s bonkers,” he says. “I love Monty Python anyway and I saw Holy Grail at the cinema but what did the trick was learning that as Patsy I get to sing Always Look On the Bright Side of Life. Plus I’m getting to do comedy on stage which not a lot of people know me for doing.”
So what’s up next?
“I try not to plan too much but I’d like more films,” he says. “Then again if you’ve got four months ahead planned in this business you think you’re lucky. I tend to take each day as it comes.”
And the almost inevitable book?
“I’ll write my memoirs one day but I’m not sure who would want to read them,” says Todd. “I’ll probably write them as a guide for young people as to the pitfalls and dangers of starting out in this profession as a child. It certainly wouldn’t be salacious.”
So what about advice for those youngsters?
“If you are in it you are in for the long haul,” says. “You either get left on the scrap heap or make it, so take the good times in your stride and accept the bad ones in your stride.”
So always look on the bright side of life then?