There’s no hanging around for Lee Mead as he heads straight from playing Caractacus Potts on tour in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to his own tour celebrating the golden era of the Hollywood musical.
Lee sprang to fame when he won the West End role of Joseph in the BBC’s hit Saturday night show Any Dream Will Do back in 2007.
But with his new album and tour, Some Enchanted Evening, he is fulfilling a long-held ambition to perform some of those great songs.
When WOW247 caught up with Lee, he was coming to the end of his five-month stint on Chitty.
‘It’s flown by. In hindsight it would have been nice to do longer, but I’ve got the new album and I’m touring and I’m doing panto after that. It’s a real iconic show and to play Potts and the Dick Van Dyke character I’ve grown up with is great.’
Lee began work on the project while still playing Lofty in the BBC’s hospital drama Casualty – his character was written out earlier this year, but Lee filmed his final scenes last November.
With each song I sing in the show, I’ll learn it like a monologue and then I get flashes of personal experience which I can connect to itLee Mead
‘I started work on Some Enchanted Evening about a year ago. There was quite a bit of time spent on finding the songs and learning them and creating the arrangements.
‘I’m very proud to say it went top 20. If you’re a full-time artist that’s your full-time career, that’s all you do, but for me to be in TV and on stage when I’m not a full-time artist, it’s great. It’s nice it’s been received really well.
‘For the past few years, the fans have been asking me to do a musical theatre album.
‘People like Michael Ball, John Barrowman, Michael Crawford, all these leading men had done these sorts of albums and the Lloyd Webber catalogue had been done, and I didn’t really want to do those songs, so I thought how about doing songs from musicals from the ’50s and ’60s, from the films? Things like Guys and Dolls and South Pacific.’
And it was important for Lee to put his own stamp on the songs.
‘When you take a song or an acting role, it’s about you finding your personal connection with it.
‘With each song I sing in the show, I’ll learn it like a monologue and then I get flashes of personal experience which I can connect to it.
‘For me it’s not just singing the song, it’s about putting across a story.’
He’s also thrilled to still be in showbusiness a decade after Any Dream Will Do.
‘I didn’t know where it would lead – there are so many of these shows. I just thought enjoy the moment, whatever happens, and I won it, which was incredible. I didn’t expect nearly 10 years on I’d be doing TV roles and things like this.
‘I’ve worked really hard – fortunately people have appreciated the work that I’ve done. I’m quite proud of that.’