Jasmine Storm speaks to Lee Mead about his favourite panto, Holby, his fans and his dream role.
JS: What is your favourite panto?
LM: I should say Aladdin, shouldn’t I? cause I am doing that this year. Favourite panto? Ohh, probably Jack and the Beanstalk. I enjoyed playing Jack and also it was the first panto I saw as a kid. I’ve got to play it twice now – it’s kind of fun.
JS: What would be your dream role or show to star in?
LM: I always said it would be amazing to play the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. As lead roles go for a guy its pretty iconic. Yeah. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.
JS: People don’t want to see your face covered up!
LM: (laughs) I know.
JS: Obviously you are most well known as Joseph. Is musical theatre where your heart lies or do you prefer TV because obviously you do a lot of both.
LM: It's been great really. With the Lofty thing and Holby. What’s happened is the Joseph competition opened up a massive audience for theatre which is great. And a few years later to land that role in Casualty playing Lofty with a big TV audience. So obviously you got theatre lovers and TV lovers and some of them combine so its been great for my career in that sense to open me up to a wider audience.
JS: But what do you love? Where does your heart lie?
LM: I think always in theatre, yeah. I love being on stage. I’ve produced my first play actually…called Someone To Watch Over Me by Frank McGuiness. Its based on the journeys of Terry Weight in the late 80s who got captured in Beruit. It’s a three handed play we did last month; played this intimate small space to about a hundred people. But whether it is one hundred or two and a half thousand, to me it’s the same buzz. Playing to an audience That intimate feel. That live interaction – you can’t beat that really. But obviously TV gives you a wider audience.
JS: As a massive Holby fan myself…
LM: You watch the show? Brilliant!
JS: Absolutely. I’m interested to know how you feel Lofty is portrayed. He can be quite meek at times, can’t he?
JS: Do you enjoy the powerful storylines that he has had recently?
LM: I have yeah. Obviously, there is a sensitive side to him but what audiences have seen in recent months and the last year especially is, if you watch the show, you see him standing up to Issac, Dom’s ex. He is actually quite brave.
JS: You recovered quite quickly from that.
LM: yeah from open brain surgery – yeah. (laughs) But he is a lot steelier than a lot of people think.
JS: He is Dom’s rock really, isn’t he?
LM: Yeah, yeah. I think any character in a long running soap, you have to see them develop in that way. Lofty’s initial traits in Casualty were funny and clumsy, but he has developed in the last two to three years which have been great. That relationship with Dom and going into Holby – its really nice stuff to play really.
JS: That’s my other question. Holby fans love Dom and Lofty together. I was personally really upset that you went off and had an affair. I can’t believe they let that into the script. I’m not sure that’s what Lofty would have done.
LM: I know. Bad guy.
JS: But do you think Dom and Lofty will ever be happy together?
LM: It’s a good question isn’t it? Cause they clearly really love each other but they clash and that’s the big question isn’t it? Can they come through those moments where they have to stand together and understand each other or not? Because when they are good, they are amazing together and they’re really happy. But when they clash, one of them goes off an has an affair! It wasn’t as plain as that - watching the show, you know that Dom pushed Lofty away for quite a while and he was dealing with his whole adoption thing which Lofty didn’t know about, Dom gave the cold shoulder and Lofty went off travelling. Lofty felt a bit neglected and even when he was calling home, his husband didn’t want to speak to him.
JS: Yes, but his husband has a lot of stuff going on!
LM: Yeah! But he didn’t know about it did he?
JS: I’ve just found out I’m adopted and who my real mother is…
LM: Lofty had no idea that had happened so ... he doesn’t condone the affair personally, I think. And that was a big discussion I had with the producers – Does it justify him having the affair? Even though he was neglected and pushed away for a long time.
JS: Did you question that storyline then?
LM: Yeah. On a big show like Holby, you do have to ask those questions, cause its got to be as real as possible. Especially those big moments with characters, you got to think well would he actually do that? Is that justified? Its certainly shook a few things up.
JS: It has.
LM: And now they are trying to work thorough that.
JS: With the girl who just arrived who is pregnant?
LM: Helen, yeah, who Lofty had the affair with. That’s a whole new can of worms isn’t it?
JS: I look forward to see how that plays out. So, getting back to you as Lee Mead, you have a lot of fans that follow you around the country…meadaholics?
LM: Yes, Meadaholics and the Loppies. Mead obsessed people. Its pretty crazy.
JS: What is the strangest gift or encounter that you have experienced?
LM: Blimey, there has been a few over the years. Anonymous letters. Scented anonymous letters. And gifts. I’ve had propositions and stuff, there has been some very rude letters in the past. (laughs). Yeah with offers attached to them. Which is quite interesting.
JS: Its nice to be loved.
LM: That’s love on a whole other level.
JS: As a fellow person with curly hair, can I ask what products you use to make your hair look so fabulous?
LM: I make sure I condition my hair every day. Its so boring for people to hear.
JS: I think people want to know this.
LM: It keeps it nice and soft. I can’t remember the name of the brand. And a little bit of hair cream.
Lee Mead is playing the title role in Aladdin at Milton Keynes Theatre.