Award-winning actor Bill Ward, who left ITV’s Emmerdale in a murderous exit this October, is to star in the next thrilling stage adaptation of multi-million selling author Peter James’ Not Dead Enough. Appearing alongside Laura Whitmore and Stephen Billington, Bill Ward will play Peter James’ famous literary Detective Superintendent Roy Grace from Tuesday 18 April 2017. The show is coming to Cardiff on Tuesday 13 June 2017.
As well as his 3 year run and a recent explosive exit from his role as Emmerdale favourite James Barton (2013-2016), Bill is perhaps also best known for his multi award-winning turn as the villainous Charlie Stubbs in Coronation Street (2003-2007). Bill’s West End stage credits include Johnny in Viva Forever (Piccadilly Theatre) and Sam Phillips in Million Dollar Quartet
Following Peter James’ 11th consecutive Sunday Times No.1 in the UK Book Charts and the huge sell-out success of The Perfect Murder and Dead Simple on stage, the thrilling work of multi-million selling author Peter James returns to theatres in January 2017 with the world premiere production of Not Dead Enough.
On the night Brian Bishop murdered his wife, he was sixty miles away, asleep in bed. At least that’s what he claims. But as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace continues to deal with the mysterious disappearance of his own wife, he starts to dig a little deeper into the chilling murder case and it soon becomes clear that love can be a dangerous thing.
No stranger to theatre, Laura Whitmore’s acting career began at a young age with the Leinster School of Music and Drama in Dublin. In the very same year that she completed her Diploma in Performance with a special honour for her final performance she was chosen as the new face of MTV Europe. Laura is best known for her work as a presenter for MTV, The Brits, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Here Now, and most recently for gracing our screens as one of the stars in 2016’s Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1.
Bill and Laura are also joined on stage by award winning actor Stephen Billington, best known for television roles in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks as well as film roles including the Academy Award winning Braveheart.
Not Dead Enough is the third novel in the award winning Roy Grace series and now becomes the third play in his box office smash hit and critically acclaimed stage franchise. James has been acclaimed as ‘one of the most fiendishly clever crime fiction plotters’ (Daily Mail) and his brilliant international bestselling Roy Grace novels have been published in 36 languages and sold over 18 million copies worldwide.
Following the nationwide success of The Perfect Murder with Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace earlier this year, Not Dead Enough will reunite Peter James with theatre producer Joshua Andrews, the Olivier award winning director Ian Talbot and award winning writer Shaun McKenna.
Below, you can find the syndicated interview with Laura Whitmore (Cleo Morey).
What was it that attracted you to star in the world premiere production of Peter James’ Not Dead Enough?
Laura: I wanted to get back into acting and it was about finding the right team and the right role, something that had a bit of depth to it and which would be a challenge. I met Peter, Ian [Talbot, the director] and Joshua [Andrews, the producer] and I just knew it was a team I wanted to work with. I fell in love with the script and Peter’s books. I’ve read a few of his books and it felt like the right thing to do, plus Cleo is a character who is a bit feisty, a strong woman, and a role I can sink my teeth into.
How would you sum up the relationship between your characters in the show?
Laura: My character wants a commitment from Roy, who is the wrong man to want a commitment from. I think it’s hard for a woman where there’s an ex-wife or a past relationship and there’s so much uncertainty here. When is this woman going to come back? Is she dead? How do you deal with someone that’s ghost but is also real? It’s not the easiest of times.
What’s your take on the characters?
Laura: Cleo is very strong. She’s probably had her own obstacles with the job that she has. She’s a woman who I feel has probably had to tackle her way to get there. I feel she’s got a lot to prove and she’s in love with a guy who is probably not the best guy to be in love with. She’s also quite headstrong and doesn’t like to show vulnerability, which I don’t either. There are a few times in the play where something happens and she doesn’t want him to know because she’d rather deal with it herself. I quite like that. She’s very stubborn and I guess I am too.
The first two Peter James stage plays have been huge hits. Why do you think audiences are so enthralled by his stories?
Laura: They’re based on reality. Everything Peter does is researched so well and based on some sort of truth.
Were you familiar with Peter’s work before this?
Laura: I know his books from airports. I fly so much for work and I’ll go “I must pick up a new book, what’s in the top ten?” and there’s always one of his there – right at the top!
You trained in drama so how is it revisiting the discipline after doing presenting work? And what is the biggest challenge for you?
Laura: It’s been ages since I did theatre, since I won a competition to be an MTV presenter about eight years ago. I did a few local productions in Dublin and it’s something I wanted to get back into. I suppose presenting is acting in a way and doing Strictly Come Dancing I found that I really enjoyed becoming a character for those few minutes of doing a dance. I found the acting part helped me get through the dancing. Growing up I was obsessed with theatre and just that live feel. Even more so than going to the movies, I loved watching live theatre and I was very lucky that that was my little treat from my dad. My parents weren’t together and once a week my dad would take me to a play. It was something I was in awe of at theatres like The Gate, The Gaiety and The Abbey.
Laura: More butterflies, but if you don’t get butterflies there’s no point doing it.
What are you most looking forward to about the tour?
Laura: The routine and the structure of it and when getting back into acting the best thing you can do is theatre. Also working with a great team and a great director. Being a sponge and trying to absorb as much as I can – there’s no better way to learn.
Will going home to Dublin be a special stop on the tour?
Laura: Absolutely and it’s a beautiful theatre. I moved to London eight years ago and I don’t get home often. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to perform this play to a home crowd in Dublin and to be able to have my mum and my dad come and see it will be great.
Do you have any pre or post-show routines or suspicions?
Laura: For me pre-show and before doing live TV I just like five minutes of time to myself. There’s so much hustle and bustle, especially with live television, that it’s nice to just disappear for a few minutes.
So you can act and dance – what’s the one skill you wish you had?
Laura: I wish I could play an instrument well. I play guitar badly but I wish I was that person who at a party could just pick up a guitar and play any song.
Peter’s stories are very scary. What are you scared of in real life?
Laura: I’m scared of showing vulnerability in some ways because in this industry you have to be quite strong.
We will be giving away 2 tickets to see Not Dead Enough in Cardiff from 13-17th June at the New Theatre. To win the tickets, please head over to our Facebook page and like, share and comment below our post about the show why you’d like to be our winner.