Lee Mead is back in Cardiff starring in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We chat with Lee about life in The 'Diff, Casualty & performing at the WMC.
W&W: Welcome back to Cardiff Lee! I'm sure It's like a 2nd home to you after Casualty...do you like it here?
Lee: I love it here. It's almost like home from home after living here for over two years on Casualty. I've also performed here at the Theatres many times over the years so it's always nice to come back.
W&W: What do you miss most about being on the show?
Lee: I probably miss the people the most. After two years of working on a job, you form close relationships. I have a lot of fun memories being on the Bay after work and heading into town for a night out. It was a fun time. I also loved driving 20 mins out to the beaches on my days off. The Gower Peninsula and beyond that has some of the best beaches and coastline in the world.
W&W: Any chance of Lofty returning?
Lee: Fortunately the door has been left open so you never know 🙂. I do miss playing Lofty and didn't really expect the audience of the show to like him as much as they did. He became a really likeable character and I think that was party down to him being quite clumsy and very caring. I think the part also brought a bit of light relief to the show. I'm really enjoying the break at the moment and doing a big musical but hopefully I will be back again in the future.
W&W: You're touring with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the moment, tell us a little about your character...
Lee: I play the quirky inventor Caractacus Potts. Those who have seen the film will know he is a man who just wants to give his children a better future by making that invention that will change the world and enhance their lives. Although they are very content as a family. Potts is a widower who adores his two children and it isn't until he meets Truly Scrumptious that he eventually realises this is someone he could possibly see himself having a life with again. I think he just becomes so used to being on his own and raising his kids over the years that the thought of being in love again just never crosses his mind.
W&W: What makes this shows production stand out?
Lee: Ultimately it is a story about family. Ian Fleming was very clever when writing the book, as we can all relate to family because it is the most important thing to us all. You combine that with wonderful songs by the Sherman brothers like Hushabye Mountain, Toot Sweets, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and many more and you have a hit show. A flying car probably helps a bit too 🙂. This is probably why the story and the film has lasted almost fifty years. It's timeless.
W&W: The Millenium Centre is one of the most unique buildings in the UK - do you get complacent performing on such stages or is it always as exciting as the first time?
Lee: You can never get complacent when it comes to being at the Wales Millennium Centre. The venue is absolutely stunning. Easily one of the best in the world. I was fortunate enough to bring my own show there for an evening back in 2010 and it was the most special night. There's nothing like a full house at the WMC.
W&W: Any other tours coming up, your solo shows?
Lee: Yes, I will be doing a few dates with my band and touring the UK with my new album Some Enchanted Evening throughout October after finishing in Chitty. It reached the top 20 in the Independent charts which was very exciting. I'm looking forward to taking it out on the road and performing it live. I'll then be finishing the year off in Panto at the London Palladium playing Prince Charming in Cinderella. The first Panto at the Palladium and in the West End for thirty years which is exciting.