A quick chat with Duncan James

Grease is the word for Blue’s Duncan James as he searches for schoolkids to stage a West End production of the musical

Denise Van Outen did it with Hairspray, now Duncan James is having a go with Grease. No, we’re not talking personal grooming, but Sky1’s latest bid to turn schoolchildren into West End stars in a new series of their talent show The School Musical (Sky1, Sundays).

The Blue star, who will soon star in the forthcoming musical Legally Blonde, will be checking out wannabe Pink Ladies and T-Birds in six shortlisted schools around the country. The winning school will then get the chance to stage their own production of Grease at London’s Novello Theatre.

We caught up with him to tell us more, so tell us more…

This project gives kids a sense that anybody can achieve anything… It also gives them a feeling of belonging and makes them realise that you don’t have to be at a London stage school to appear in the West End.

I was looking for enthusiasm and a school with that special something…
There is a lot of talent out there. I was blown away by a couple of the kids because I genuinely believe they can go on to be actors.

Grease is a great show for schools to put on… Every boy wants to be John Travolta and every girl wants to be Olivia Newton John. It’s a really happy musical, and the kids relate to the characters being at school and having crushes on people.

Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child was brilliant as a guest mentor… It was great for the kids to work with someone from one of the world’s biggest girl bands. She really got involved.

Working with Blue again has been lovely… We are going on tour and putting out a new album, and Lionel Richie wants to collaborate with us. It’s nearly 10 years since we first got together, and it’s nice to have another crack at it.

Not being in showbusiness wasn’t an option for me…
I’d have kept going until I made it. It’s the only thing I have ever been good at – I have been blessed with talent.

I’d love a guest role on EastEnders
I always watch it because my best mate Rita Simons plays Roxy, and I like to see what she’s up to.

I also fancy taking part in Celebrity Come Dine with Me… Cooking is one of my passions and I like to think of myself as a closet Jamie Oliver. My cooking is very traditional – a lot roast dinners and casseroles.

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