Ian Reddington on going from soap star to Preacher Man
MANY remember actor Ian Reddington as market inspector 'Tricky Dicky' in EastEnders or as Vernon Tomlin in Coronation Street, but the English actor is currently enjoying being a love guru in the new Dusty Springfield musical The Son of a Preacher man.
Directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, the story follows three broken hearts, who are strangers and generations apart as they are drawn to what was once a Soho hang-out called The Preacher Man.
This legendary swinging 1960s venue was owned by the Preacher Man himself, who offered advice to lonely hearts, but it now it has faded into myth and memory.
However, his son, with the help from the Cappuccino Sisters, may channel the spirit of the Preacher Man and give the three lovesick strangers the look of love.
The cast also includes X Factor star Diana Vickers and former Bad Girls and Coronation Street actress Debra Stephenson and will feature classic Dusty Springfield tracks including The Look of Love, I Only Want To Be With You, Spooky and of course the title song.
"This musical isn't about Dusty Springfields life, but it's her songs that encapsulate these people's lives – essentially it's about love and it's heart warming," says Reddington, who confesses that he was 10 at the height of Dusty's fame and had a school boy crush on her.
Now, Reddington has huge respect for singer:
"What I didn't realise until lately is that she was responsible for bringing a lot of the wonderful black R'n'B music over to Britain. She once famously said, ‘My face is white but my soul is black'."
The actor is no stranger to jukebox musicals, having previously starred in High School Musical 2 and We Will Rock You.
"When people are looking for actors who can sing a bit they get me," he jokes.
Growing up in Sheffield, in his teens he was in a band with Glenn Gregory, who went on to form Heaven 17 and was friends with the guys who went on to form Human League.
Reddington, who is currently on our screens in Outlanders, Doctors and The Dumping Ground, is the only male actor to star in both EastEnders and Coronation Street.
I had to ask him if he was planning the treble, with a role in Emmerdale?
"You can shoot me if you see me in Emmerdale," he laughs. "I should say never say never".
:: Son of a Preacher Man runs at the Grand Opera House in Belfast from November 21 to 25. Tickets priced from £16.75 are on sale now from the Box Office on 028 9024 1919 or online at GOH.co.uk.