Noel Sullivan is optimistic that his role in BBC1 drama Ordinary Lies will prompt viewers to see beyond 'Noel from Hear'Say'...

Noel Sullivan has admitted he hopes his role in the new series of Ordinary Lies will help him lose the ‘Noel from Hear’Say’ tag.

In the drama, which returned to BBC1 on Tuesday night, the actor and singer plays forklift truck driver Neil, who works in the warehouse of Coopers sports sales company.

Despite having spent 12 years as a theatre actor, Noel’s aware than many people may still regard him as ‘Noel from Hear’Say’ – in reference to the ‘Popstars’ band he was in back in 2001.

Hear'Say: Noel, Suzanne, Myleene, Danny and Kym

Noel in his Hear’Say days alongside (L-R) Suzanne Shaw, Myleene Klass, Danny Foster and Kym Marsh

While Noel hopes that will change once people see him in Ordinary Lies, he’s not sure it will happen overnight.

“This is just a drama, it’s not a magic wand,” he joked. “I’m really proud of the stuff we achieved with Hear’Say but I am working furiously to reclaim ‘Sullivan’ as my surname.”

He added: “People are never going to think that I’m gonna be playing a forklift truck driver anyway, so already I think it’s going to change people’s perceptions of what I’m about.”

Noel’s character Neil is central to next Tuesday’s episode of Ordinary Lies, which focuses on Coopers’ PA, Holly Pryce, played by Fresh Meat’s Kimberley Nixon.

Noel Sullivan Ordinary Lies

Noel as Coopers’ forklift truck driver Neil

Facebook addict Holly becomes so convinced that other people’s lives are more exciting than her own, she decides to fabricate the ‘perfect’ life for herself. But she hides this from everyone who really knows her – including Neil…

“Holly’s episode focuses on how it is that, nowadays, you look on social media and it appears that everybody else’s life is amazing – but that’s because everybody just puts the best bits up. So it’s about her reaction to that and kind of feeling a bit left behind and a bit stuck in a rut.

“She creates a persona but is basically still going out with [Neil] – although he knows nothing about it. Obviously as every episode untangles you find the affect that people’s lies have each other.”

Ordinary Lies Neil Holly

Neil and Holly’s romance hits the skids – but Noel and Kim got along just fine…

While things are frosty between Neil and Holly, the reality couldn’t have been more different between Noel and the actress playing his on-screen girlfriend…

“I was lucky enough to get to go out with Kimberley Nixon, who’s an absolute dream,” said Noel. “She was so wonderful to work with and this is my first big TV job, so she made me feel really relaxed. She said to me: ‘If you have any questions’ or ‘if you need me to help you with anything’. She was really generous like that, which was nice. It made me feel really comfortable on set.”

Noel hopes his role in Ordinary Lies will kick-start big things for him on TV.

“This was a wonderful experience and it’s come along at the right time,” said Noel. “I’ve done a lot of stage work and at the beginning of the year I was pretty much burnt out. But this has given me a new lease of life within my acting and allowed me to see the possibilities of where I could go. So I’m really excited and I hope I get to do more.”

Ordinary Lies continues next Tuesday at 9pm on BBC1.