Talking Panto with Ryan Thomas At Wolverhampton Grand

Ryan Thomas is one of the best known faces on British television. For 16 years he played Jason Grimshaw in Coronation Street, and then went on to win a controversial series of Big Brother. This Christmas he is in Wolverhampton, playing the title role in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, and I went along to the theatre to chat with him last Friday.

FM: Tell me a bit about your character.

Ryan: It’s all about a young man going to London to seek his fortune. I’m really looking forward to getting the script as I don’t really know too much about the character, although I do know he has a cat that travels with him. I sort of know the beginning of the story. and the happy ending, but am looking forward to finding the bit in between.

FM: You’ve been Captain Hook in Panto for the past two years, are you looking forward to playing the hero again?

RT: Captain Hook is my absolute favourite character, I just love being the baddie, but it will be nice to come on the stage and not get booed!

FM:It’s your first time in Wolverhampton.

RT: Yes, it is my first time in Wolverhampton so it is like going into the unknown. But I have to say this is probably the nicest theatre I have ever been in, so a good start.

FM: You were only 16 when you joined Corrie, how did that come about?

RT: My agent at the time asked me to do an audition for June West. I just did a monologue. Move forward a few months and I got a call to say there was the possibility of a role in Corrie. It was like an OMG moment, a bit more time went by and I was called for another audition. I did a Michael Jackson dance and 15 minutes later I was told I’d got the role.

FM: You had some big storylines, do you have a favourite?

RT: My fave episode was my first ever episode, we were in the Battersby’s having Christmas dinner. It was the Christmas day episode and I watched it with all my family.

FM: What made you decide to leave Corrie?

RT: There’s never a right time to leave, but I felt that I was doing the same storylines  and needed to see what the big wide world was like. I had no regrets but I hadn’t done or known anything else. It was the best decision that I made, but they did leave the door open. Plus I did get to see my family more.

FM: Tell me about Neighbours, which you also worked on. How did that come about?

RT:My agent at the time asked if I would be interested in this role, Raphael. We talked through it, it was so far away from Jason that I wanted to try it. It was another great opportunity that I really enjoyed. Certainly no regrets.

FM: You won Big Brother in 2018, but there were problems. Did you ever regret doing the show?

RT: No regrets in life, it was one of the most amazing experiences. I am lucky, I have a great network of family and friends, and Big Brother turned out to be a unique experience that I needed to try out.

FM: Your daughter Scarlett is 10, how would you feel if she wanted to be an actress?

RT: She does, it’s happening and she loves it. She’s definitely heading in that direction and seems to really enjoy it. She’s intrigued by it all, and so enthusiastic too.

FM: Do you have a fave panto, or panto character?

RT: Captain Hook. I just love playing the baddie, you can play off the boos and hide behind the costume.

FM: Is there a role you would love to play, cinema, television or film?

RT: Good question. Growing up as a kid I loved memorable films like The Goonies and Jumanji. I love those sorts of magical, adventure films, so maybe a role in something like this.

DICK WHITTINGTON

Saturday 7 December 2019 – Sunday 12 January 2020

Performance times vary, please see website: grandtheatre.co.uk

Tickets from £16.50*

*A £3 booking fee applies to all purchases.

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