Let’s Hear It for the Boy (called Gareth)

Gareth Gates. Picture David Ellis for Boom Ents
Gareth Gates. Picture David Ellis for Boom Ents
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If you’re holding out for a hero, then look no further than Gareth Gates who appears in Footloose at Blackpool Opera House all this week.

The former Pop Idol star appears as Willard in the musical, his first comedy role since moving into musical theatre in 2009. He said: “I’ve really loved the challenge of it.

I love the thrill of theatre

“I’ve always played the romantic lead and to be given the opportunity to make people laugh is really great. I can really sink my acting teeth into it.”

Maureen Nolan also stars as Vi Moore in the production, which is adapted from the 1984 film of the same name.

It’s a film that played a huge part in developing Gareth’s love for music, he added: “The film was actually released the year I was born. I’ve always been a big fan of the film and the music is incredible.

“Big, iconic 80s songs; Holding Out for a Hero, Let’s Hear it for the Boy and obviously the title track as well.

“It’s a great show, it gets the audience up on their feet and just a great feel-good show.”

Gareth Gates first made a name for himself finishing as runner-up on the first series of Pop Idol, aged just 18.

He went on to have four number one singles before deciding to move into theatre, appearing in West End productions of ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’.

“I love the thrill of theatre,” Gareth says.

“I really enjoyed being a recording artist as well but you often find yourself in very small TV studios performing to a handful of people but the feeling of the live audience every night is great and I get a real buzz from that.”

Growing up in Bradford, most of the 32-year-old’s childhood trips to the seaside were made to Blackpool and Gareth adds he’s looking forward to returning in a more professional capacity: “As a child, I’d go to Blackpool lots, to the seaside with the family and I love it.

“I’ve performed there since lots and lots, I was there recently, I did a show called Mad About Musicals and I’m really looking forward to being back and spending a whole week there.”

Footloose will run at the Opera House from today until Saturday.

Tickets are priced from £15 and are available from www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk or 0844 856 1111.