Darren Day has pulled out of his remaining performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the West End’s New London Theatre, citing ‘vocal problems’, but will return to the stage this spring when he’ll take the title role in a new musical version of Alfie (pictured). The production opens at the Watford Palace Theatre, where it runs from 27 May to 18 June 2005.

On 14 February 2005, Day and his then-partner, former Hear’Say pop star, Suzanne Shaw, joined the cast of Joseph to play the title role and narrator respectively, for the show’s final seven weeks to 2 April at the New London (See News, 27 Jan 2005). But, ahead of official confirmation of his departure, Day’s appearances had become increasingly irregular, with rumours that the couple’s recent split was to blame. Shaw remains in the show, with Simon Gorton now playing Joseph.

Though Day has worked regularly on stage and television over the past decade, it’s primarily his tumultuous love life, and a string of broken engagements with female celebrities, that has kept him in the gossip pages. As such, some will view his new role as particularly apt casting.

Alfie is the ultimate ladykiller. Taking full advantage of the sexual revolution of the Sixties, he treats women like playthings and shies away from responsibility and emotional attachment. After numerous love affairs, a health scare and a knockback from an older woman, this feckless philanderer begins to wonder what his life is all about.

Bill Naughton’s original novel was adapted as a play and then, most famously, as the 1966 film starring Michael Caine. Last year, the Hollywood remake of that British screen classic transplanted the story from London to New York and starred Jude Law. The new musical version of Alfie has music by John Cameron, book and lyrics by Eden Phillips. The production is directed by Watford artistic director Lawrence Till.

Darren Day's theatre career first took off in 1993 when, as understudy to Philip Scofield, he assumed the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium. He returned to the musical in 2003 for a limited engagement at the New London and later in the separate touring production, both directed and produced by Bill Kenwright (See News, 11 Aug 2003).

Prior to that, in 2002, millions of television viewers watched as Day locked horns with nine other celebrities - most heatedly, with 'It' girl Tara Palmer-Tompkinson - in the launch series of reality programme I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here. Day’s other musical credits Great Expectations, Copacabana, Grease, Summer Holiday and The Rocky Horror Show. Day and former fiancée Shaw met in 2003 when they co-starred in the touring production of Summer Holiday (See News, 5 Mar 2003). The couple had a child together last year.

- by Terri Paddock