On-off EastEnders actor Neil McDermott, who played Ryan, has revealed that being a dad to two kids has helped him in his new role in a stage version of The Sound of Music

We last saw actor Neil McDermott pop up in Albert Square Ryan Malloy – dad to Stacey Fowler’s daughter Lily – over a year ago. Now, Neil’s playing a different a dad of seven in his new stage musical!

Soaplife has talked to Neil about life after EastEnders and his new tour.

Soaplife: So, you’re in a musical, Neil!

Neil McDermott: “Yes. I’m playing Captain von Trapp in the iconic musical The Sound of Music. We’re touring around country until April.”

S: That’s a role that has been done many, many times before… Is it difficult to find something new to bring to the part?

NM: “It is challenging as obviously you do want to make the part your own but it’s also very exciting. I know the role from the film, of course, plus I was in the 2006 production of the musical at the London Palladium and saw the role played over and over again. Hopefully I bring something of myself to it, though.”

S: Who did you play in 2006?

NM: “I was the telegraph boy, Rolf. It was my first proper role in London’s West End and so The Sound of Music has a very special place in my heart.”

S: Captain Von Trapp famously has seven children – has being a dad of two yourself helped you put yourself in his shoes?

NM: “[Laughs] Our circumstances are very different. My son and daughter are only aged four and six whereas Captain von Trapp’s seven range in age from about six to sixteen. But, yes, being a dad in real life helps me play another dad on the stage.”

S: Have you done many theatre tours before?

NM: “This is actually my first tour around the country and I’m really excited about it.”

S: Do you still get recognised for playing Ryan in Eastenders?

NM: “Yeah – from time to time. It’s fine. I’m happy to say hello and have my picture taken.”

S: Would you ever consider going back to Walford on a permanent basis?

NM: “That’s a tricky one. I’m very proud of my time on Eastenders and I hate the way some people kind of look down on soaps. I choose to ignore the negativity. If it were right both for me and the show, then maybe. Who knows? But remember I left EastEnders because I wanted to play different characters.”

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