‘Blackpool was my Benidorm”, says Liverpudlian reality and TV star Ray Quinn, as he returns to the resort starring in musical Summer Holiday.
“That’s what my dad used to call it, and we came for the lights, staying at Pontins or B&Bs, and coming for the dance competitions at the Tower and Winter Gardens.”
At under 12, Ray was second in the world at Latin dance, and while he does wonder ‘ what if’ he’d stuck with it - he admits he was too short to make a go of it, but still enjoys bringing his skills to new tasks, and eagle-eyed audience members may spot a Latin move in the show as it runs at the Opera House until Saturday.
“I still love Blackpool,” he added. “A lot of my friends are in Manchester, so we meet in Blackpool; it’s the only place you can go out on a Monday and it be chocka’, and when you’re on a tour, Monday’s often your night off.”
The show - based on the Cliff Richard movie of the same name - has a special place in Blackpool entertainment history, having played the Winter Gardens’ theatre summer season 20 years ago in 1998.
“It’s a great show, fun laughter, singing and lots of talented people on the stage,” Ray said. “I didn’t watch the movie, and I hadn’t seen it when I got the role.
“I chose not to do that from an acting perspective, I didn’t want to play Cliff Richard - I wanted to play Don and find my own stamp to put on it... Although I do have a posh accent instead of being Scouse.
“There’s a lovely innocence and honesty to the story, with a guy taking this bus for a holiday with his mates and finds love along the way. It’s a simple love story that we can all relate to, and it’s easy to watch.”