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Ben scores with the Opera House

Footballers’ Wives’ lovable rogue Bruno Milligan, also known as the delectable Ben Richards, is in town. But this time there’s not a football or a WAG in sight.

Published on March 6th 2007.

Ben scores with the Opera House

Ben Richards was a big hit in the cult series Footballers Wives, but like all credible actors he’s not afraid to get on stage and perform to a live audience. I caught up with Ben at the Opera House to talk about the musical he’s starring in, Guys and Dolls. Far from his on screen alter ego Bruno, Ben was the perfect gentleman.

“I haven’t been to Manchester for a while but I love it. It’s got the shops, bars, restaurants, clubs and yet it’s all so easy to get to. In a way its better than London because it’s got everything.”

Guys and Dolls tells the story of a group of small-time gamblers and the ladies in their lives. Nathan Detroit bets his pal Sky Masterson that he can't make the next lady he sees fall in love with him, and when the next lady happens to be the prim neighbourhood missionary Sarah Brown, the stage is set for an evening of high-spirited entertainment. The production also stars Claire Sweeney who Ben quite simply, adores.

“She’s lovely. We kicked off the tour together and we’re doing 8 shows a week. It’s two love stories set around lots of problems. She plays Adelaide and I play Sky so on stage we only sort of cross paths twice but we’re good mates anyway so it’s great.”

Ben is what’s known as a triple threat. He can sing, he can act and he can dance. He’s seen success on stage and screen. So will we be seeing Ben back as bad boy Bruno anytime soon or does he have other plans in the pipeline?

“Theatre and TV are like chalk and cheese! Performance wise for any actor working on stage or screen, the most important thing is truth. On stage it’s a lot freer. Theatre will never be far from what I do because I love a live audience.

You have to double up. TV and film are very exciting. I’ve got an agent in the USA so we’ll see what happens with that.”

And in the meantime, with the fan club closed, how can his legion of female admirers keep track of ‘What Ben did next?’

“You have a responsibility to do a fan club properly and I just didn’t have the time. Anyway I’m not that big so I keep my website free and just update the news. In the pop industry it works!”

Speaking of the pop industry, Ben had an album out back in 2003. So is there a chance the British Ricky Martin might go back to making music?

“Hahaha, I did do two CD’s but to be honest I’m too old now! Although if someone wanted to invest money I’d gladly do an album, but I think it’s best to leave it Mcfly and young people like that!”

So all in all, charming and talented - and best of all modest. Most definitely a triple threat.

You can catch Ben starring in Guys and Dolls at the Opera House from Tuesday, March 13th until Saturday, March 31st. Tickets cost between £12.50-£33.50. Call the Box Office on 0870 060 1768.

Lynda Moyo

Opera House
Quay St
Manchester, M3 3HP
0161 828 1700

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