Hollyoaks star Andy Moss prepares to charm audiences in Cinderella at Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Playing Prince Charming shouldn't prove to be too taxing a role for Andy Moss.
The former Hollyoaks star spent the summer playing the lead in a new West End show, Knights of The Rose. The jukebox musical mashed up classic rock hits with the words of some of our greatest poets, from Chaucer to Shakespeare, in a medieval setting.
When The Guide caught up with Andy at the launch of Ferneham Hall's panto, Cinderella, its run had only finished a week before.
'˜It was amazing. With the summer we've just had, it's been 120 degrees in armour, in a theatre, in central London, Â but it was such a good experience because it was my West End debut as well.
'˜In the end it went down really well, it was a bit of a rocky start, but it came full circle and did well.'
It also marked the first time originated a role. '˜I've done a few musicals before and done a few tours '“Â I did Ghost and everyone knows the story and what to expect, so to be able to start on the ground level and build the character with the director and the creatives, it's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done '“Â IÂ really enjoyed it.'
Andy toured in Ghost: The MusicalÂ for the best part of a year, playing Sam, the role made famous in the film version by Patrick Swayze.
'˜They were big shoes to fill. Luckily my friend was the original in its West End run, Richard Fleeshman, he played Sam, so I'd seen him in it a few times, so I had an idea what it was like.
'˜When you go into a musical like that, you're kind of told where to stand, what to say and when to say it, how to sing it and so on, so it's really rewarding to do it backwards and be able to build the character.'
But it's playing Rhys Ashworth in Channel 4's long-running soap Hollyoaks that gave Andy his big break. He played the part for eight years before getting a typically dramatic, and fatal, departure in 2012. From there he joined the cast of BBC's daytime soap Doctors for several months.
'˜I left Hollyoaks because I wanted to go and try other things, so to go from that straight into another sort of soap was a bit of a weird step to take, but the timing was right.
'˜And then after I did that I thought, right I want to concentrate on theatre. So I landed the part in Ghost, did that for a year, learned my craft, did a panto for Jordan ProductionsÂ last year in Chatham, thoroughly enjoyed that, and now I'm back with them for this year.
'˜I've enjoyed mixing it up and doing two years of theatre.'
This time last year Andy was again playing the prince, in Sleeping Beauty. '˜I've basically been playing Â a prince for a year now.Â It's a tough one, I don't know how they do it,' he laughs.
And he's been looking forward to getting back into the panto spirit.
'˜I've always loved Christmas ever since I was a kid anyway, and for me, it means you get to be involved in Christmas, but hardcore,Â for six weeks.
'˜Everyone's happy to see the show and excited to see you '“Â there's just a really good vibe in the air. JordanÂ are so lovely, they put modern songs in it with a live band, so it's still really credible as well. Some pantos I've done they cut back on the production, so they're just paying for the people on the stage, butÂ these guys go along with the story.
'˜It's still a fairy tale, and I get to love Christmas and sing some good songs.'
The singing aspect shouldn't be a problem for Andy '“Â he was in a rock band called Empire.
'˜They're on indefinite hiatus,' laughs Andy.Â '˜It was fun, but that was before I was in Hollyoaks.
'˜We got our break supporting [Teenage Dirtbag hitmakers]Â Wheatus on their European tour, which was insane, but you couldn't make any money out of it.
'˜I would go off and live like a rock star for four months, then come home and it was, right, now what am I going to do? And trying to get acting jobs around that was difficult, so I had to make a decision.
'˜I still see those guys though, so never say never.'
Â Even though it's been several years since he was left Hollyoaks in suitably dramatic fashion '“Â it involved a double-wedding, a love-triangle and Rhys's untimelyÂ demise.
'˜I look back on it so fondly, everyone was so lovely. It was hard work, and long hours, but I looked forward to going into work.Â Eight years was a long time for any job, though.
'˜I learned my craft here and how to act properly, how to be professional, how to not be late, how to get on with a million people and a million different personalities. It was the best way to grow up and to learn how to act.
'˜That's why I love this job '“Â one minute I'm a baby killer on Doctors, the next I'm stepping into Patrick Swayze's shoes in Ghost, the next I'm the knight of the rose, now I'm Prince Charming in Cinderella. It's always something different.'
Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Until January 6