Gary Wilmot: TV’s the way to do it…

GARY WILMOT rose to fame on TV’s New Faces back in the 1970s and says he’d still advise budding young performers to head for television talent shows.

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“New Faces got about 18 million viewers a week – you’d go on there as an unknown and the next morning half the country knew who you were,” says singer and comic Gary.

Although the versatile performer adds that he doesn’t watch the current crop of TV talent shows, he admits that it is still a good stage to start out on: “Why not? It’s an enormous springboard and there’s very little else, other than slogging round the country.

“I’d go on The X Factor if I was starting out because it’s a good way to get known, but it only gets you on the first level – it’s like a Super Mario game, you have to keep trying to get to the next level!”

Luckily for Gary his latest show is the award-winning musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He says: “It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve done. It has great songs, it’s a fantastic story, it’s the finest musical I’ve done for a long, long time.

“Some shows have a degree of humour but this one is laugh-out-loud funny. The film version (with Steve Martin and Michael Caine) was funny but this is better, there’s nothing like live theatre.”

Gary (left) plays the chief of police Andre, who takes backhanders to tip-off conman character Lawrence about rich women coming to town so he can swindle them – and his character then turns a blind eye.

“We’ve got Carley Stenson from Hollyoaks playing Christine, she’s absolutely terrific, and Noel Sullivan who used to be in Hear’say, playing Freddy, and he’s not only got a beautiful voice but an absolutely terrific sense of comedy timing. He’s doing a great job.

“And then, as Lawrence, we’ve got Michael Praed [himself a regular on London’s West End stages] – you don’t get anyone more suave than him.”

Gary Wilmot will star in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre from Tuesday, October 27 until Saturday, October 31.

But he’s already lined up his next move – playing Widow Twanky in Aladdin at Milton Keynes this Christmas.

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