For many, a stable career on stage and screen can only be a dream. But for Lee Mead, a dream came true when he won a TV talent contest.
Until 2007, Lee Mead had been a relatively unknown performer on the West End stage, with ensemble and understudy roles to his name.
But after auditioning for the BBC TV casting show Any Dream Will Do, he won round the audiences at home as well as the expert panel of John Barrowman, producer Bill Kenwright, Denise Van Outen and vocal coach Zoe Taylor, and head judge Andrew Lloyd Webber, to be granted the title role in a new West End revival of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“It makes me feel old actually,” he said of his big break being more than 10 years ago. “But I thought it would be nice to do a tour and album to celebrate it, a lot has happened in that time.”
He’s played lead roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Wicked and Legally Blonde: The Musical, produced solo albums and tours, and starred in Casualty and its sister series Holby City.
“With TV talent shows, often after two or three years, you’re off radar so I’m proud of what I’ve done,” Lee said. “It’s nice to have a career which is what I always wanted.
“I was in the chorus of shows like Phantom Of The Opera, Miss Saigon, but like thousands of actors you want to progress; doing albums, playing the Palladium, all the things I’ve done.
“It opened up so many opportunities; going out to millions of people on Saturday night TV, as well as producers being able to see what you can do.
“Since then I’ve got to play a lot of lead roles and do TV.
“I spent years going to nine or 10 auditions and call backs for a chorus role.
“Now, if a producer is interested, I usually go and meet them, chat about it, sing through the part before the decision is made. A few roles, I have been given straight off.
“I feel really lucky to be doing that and I’d spent years of having auditions and knock backs.”
Despite the roles he’s had since winning Any Dream, Lee cites his solo tours as being the highlights of his career, with his latest outing coming to Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion on Saturday, April 28.
“My favourite thing is going out with a band and doing an album and touring it,” he said. “With a musical, you’re employed by a producer and that’s great, but when it’s your own show I really enjoy that when I can have a chat with the audience.
“Caractacus Potts in Chitty was also special as I’d watched the film growing up and I got to drive the flying car for five months.”
Lee Mead, 10 Year Anniversary, Lowther Pavilion, Saturday, April 28. Visit www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk.