5 minutes with: Scott Garnham – 'We're putting our own stamp on the Billy Elliot tour'

We spent five minutes with ”Grand Hotel” and ”Made in Dagenham” actor Scott Garnham who is currently playing Tony in the first ”Billy Elliot” UK and Ireland tour

Scott Garnham

I started acting classes when I was seven years old then, when I was 12, Honk! The Ugly Ducking came to the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. They were looking for local children to be in the show so I auditioned and got it. I did that with big National Theatre performers like Richard Dempsey and Nicholas Colicos and I just thought, if these guys can do it, I don't see why I can't. So from that moment on it was all I ever wanted to do.

The Les Mis 25th Anniversary experience was mad. That was the year I started Les Mis so I got to be part of this big anniversary concert at the O2 Arena. When we actually arrived at the O2 and saw the scale and the set and then the audience, it was crazy. I remember standing onstage whist the four Valjean's sang "Bring Him Home" and you could see what an effect the music and the show had on these people and what it meant to them and it felt really special. It reminded you why we do what we do and that was very moving.

Matt Lucas has always been very supportive. He did the O2 show and then came into Les Mis for three months and we got on really well. When he was casting Pompidou he rang my agent and said we'd like to give Scott an audition and I was lucky enough to get it. It was a really great experience. The show wasn't that well received but it was new and different and original and that's quite rare these days so it was nice to be a part of it.

We're putting our own stamp on the Billy Elliot tour, it's going to be quite different to the London version. We've tweaked it and honed it and certain elements in the story have changed. When I say changed, it’s not like Billy doesn’t get into ballet school but there are slight changes with my character Tony. It's more about being able to tell that story a little clearer, they've had 11 years to come up with the best version they possibly can.

We have four different Billy's who are quite literally the most talented people I have ever met. They can sing, backflip off a piano, tap-dance, do ballet and fly. When you're having a rough day and you're thinking it's hard, you look at what they have to do and you think: I should probably shut up. The tour is mental though: in technical rehearsals, we have to do everything four times because each Billy has to be teched into the show. But it's amazing, it's like this big machine and they make it work brilliantly.

This is such a long tour, it doesn't finish until May 2017. It's pretty much my main focus, I'm just enjoying the fact that I've got a long period of work. Particularly after I Can't Sing got two weeks' notice and Made in Dagenham got six weeks so I'm pretty certain that Billy won't close on me. If it does I think people will stop employing me because I'll be some sort of bad omen. I actually said imagine if I got Tony in the London production because that's closing – people literally wouldn't employ me anymore.

Billy Elliot – The Musical runs at Theatre Royal Plymouth until 2 April, after which it tours the UK and Ireland. For a list of tour dates and venues, click here.