Strictly champion Ellie Leach hits the stage in Cluedo 2

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Strictly Come Dancing reigning champion Ellie Leach makes her stage acting debut as Miss Scarlett in Cluedo 2 which plays the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton from June 19-23.

Inevitably Strictly was a life-changing experience, Ellie says: “The way I see things now after Strictly is that you can do anything that you put your mind to and just not worry about what people might think or about making a fool of yourself because sometimes when you make a fool of yourself that's when the best things happen. But I still don't think that winning Strictly feels real.

"The whole experience was just so life-changing and it was just so amazing to lift the glitterball and to actually win. I'll never forget that. And I just don't think I'll ever believe that it actually happened. It still feels like a dream – the most amazing dream. But I just learned so much from it that I can bring to the next stage of my life. And it's a really exciting part of my life now to be working with the Cluedo gang. Everyone has just helped me so much settle into the theatre world.”

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Ellie’s stage debut seems the natural next step post-Strictly: “I was in Coronation Street for 12 years and that was my life for so long but then Strictly was incredible. It's great to give yourself the chance to really push yourself out of your comfort zone and now I just think ‘Why not?’ You just think it's never going to be the right time so why not just do it now and it's just amazing to be doing Cluedo.”

Ellie Leach (contributed pic)Ellie Leach (contributed pic)
Ellie Leach (contributed pic)

Alongside Ellie is Jason Durr as Colonel Mustard. Most recently seen as David Hide in BBC One’s Casualty, a role he played for seven years from 2016, Jason will also be recognised as the motorbike riding policeman Mike Bradley from ITV’s Heartbeat. “We are on tour at the moment and the audiences are absolutely loving it,” Jason says. “It's a comedy and it's silly and it's based on the iconic board game which is 75 years old this year. You've got all the iconic characters who are brought to life in what I like to think of as a live action version of the game – all these characters brought together by (the writers) Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (Birds of a Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart and Dreamboats and Petticoats), and this is a fantastically funny script. It's physically very funny but also the audience get the chance to play detective.”

As Ellie says: “The great thing about Cluedo 2 is that it is all little bit reimagined. It's all a little bit different. We have taken the characters from the board game that have no back story and we have put them on the stage.” For instance Jason's Colonel Mustard is loosely based on Colonel Tom Parker in this version, and with the whole thing set in the 1960s. And yes they do play fair, Jason says: “The audience do get a chance to guess. People overhear the audience discussing who they think it is and probably there will always be someone in the audience who gets it right but basically it's just very silly and very funny and it's exactly what we need right now.”

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