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Tom Chambers and Charlotte Ritchie are two of the stars of Noel Coward’s Private Lives which opens The New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham this week. Show Review

Coward's wit makes the private lives of two newly divorced and now newly married couples a very public, and very funny affair.

Roger Clarke caught up with the stars when they made a flying visit the theatre . . .

SO, if you are a struggling actor, how do you land not just a part, but a major part in a top hospital TV soap like Holby City? Easy - just send a video of yourself recreating Fred Astaire dance with a drum kit from the1937 RKO film A Damsel in Distress. Simple really.

At least that is how Tom Chambers did it to land the role of Sam Strachan, picked up favourite newcomer (2006) and favourite all-time male (2007) along the way. Chambers had sent the video to hundreds of casting directors and TV producers and someone at the BBC took notice.

(The original Fred Astaire clip has been included at the end)

It was a career defining moment for Chambers who also talks about the moment he was just four seconds from death when a crazed highjacker tried to take over a plane on which he was travelling and Boeing 747 plunged 19,000 feet with the crew only regaining control moments before disaster.

It was another defining moment for Chambers. He had been friends from his schooldays with the daughter of his geography teacher – the brush with death was a reminder of mortality and he decided to marry her.

He also talks about Coward’s witty play about marriage and relationships, but first what about that Fred Astaire dance clip and a break into television?


Interview with Tom Chambers


CHARLOTTE Ritche is perhaps best known as Nurse Barbara Gilbert in BBC’s Call the Midwife but has an impressive list of film and TV credits as well as a successful singing career – starting as a schoolgirl - as a member of the classical girl crossover group, All Angels, with three CDs to their credit along with numerous TV appearances. Below they are seen at Coventry Cathedral in 2008 singing the flower duet  from Léo Delibes' opera Lakmé.

She talks about Call the Midwife, about acting and – and her fear of falling in the audience – as well the play.

Interview with Charlotte Ritchie

Private Lives runs at The New Alexandra Theatre to 13-02-16.

Fred Astaire in Damsel in Distress (1937)


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