Freddie Flintoff to star in Fat Friends stage musical
Who knew Freddie Flintoff could sing and act? Well, Kay Mellor, writer of ITV's Fat Friends worked it out pretty quickly, having cast him in both her latest TV show and now her musical.
The ex-England cricket captain will appear as Kevin Mergatroyd, the fiance of budding slimmer Kelly, played by Shirley Valentine star Jodie Prenger.
Mellor's hit TV drama Fat Friends was about the trials and tribulations of a group of women attending a slimming club.
Flintoff said he is "really excited".
Mellor has written the stage version of the Bafta-nominated TV series, with the music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, son of Sir Andrew.
Flintoff will appear for seven dates of the tour, which starts in Leeds in November and finishes in Sheffield in February next year.
He also currently stars in Sky's panel show League of Their Own, with former Fat Friends star James Corden.
'I was ecstatic!'
Fat Friends also featured Ruth Jones, Alison Steadman and Sheridan Smith, who all went on to star in hit BBC drama Gavin and Stacey, written by Jones and Corden.
The musical version will star actress Elaine C Smith and former X Factor winner Sam Bailey. The TV show took a bittersweet look at the lives of women united by their dieting dramas. It was first broadcast in 2000 and ran for five years, also featuring Gaynor Faye and Lisa Riley.
Flintoff, who was BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2005, retired from cricket in 2010.
He added: "Having had the pleasure of recently working on an episode of Kay's latest TV series, it's great to have the opportunity to work with her again. I'm really looking forward to it."
He is also going to be be starring in an episode of her new BBC show Love, Lies and Records.
Mellor was quick to praise Flintoff's talents, saying: "I was introduced to Freddie at one of our TV casting sessions - it was clear to me that he could leave his cricket bat behind, embody a character, and understand the drama.
"It was a no brainer… he got the part. Then, as we were talking through Fat Friends - The Musical, I wondered if Freddie could sing.
"I was ecstatic when Nick met him and agreed his voice was perfect for the role. I am thrilled and delighted that Freddie is able to join us!"
Lloyd Webber added that the cricketer "immediately really impressed us in his audition".
Mellor's other TV writing credits include Band of Gold, The Chase, The Syndicate and In the Club, and she has written A Passionate Woman for the stage.