Recording artist Sam Bailey, who won the tenth season of The X Factor in the U.K., will join the previously announced Jodie Prenger in Fat Friends—The Musical. The production will open at Leeds Grand Theatre in November ahead of an extensive U.K. tour in 2018.
Bailey will share the role of Betty, originated on TV by Alison Steadman, with award-winning comic and actor Elaine C. Smith (Two Doors Down). Smith will step into the role during three Scottish dates in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen.
The award-winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator Kay Mellor. The show features a score by Nicholas Lloyd Webber (son of Andrew Lloyd Webber). Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
The tour, produced by Joshua Andrews and Adam Spiegel, will later visit Bromley, Newcastle, Hull, Southampton, Sheffield, Southend, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Dartford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bradford, Aberdeen, and Blackpool.
In a statement, Bailey said, “I’m absolutely delighted to have been cast as Betty in Fat Friends–The Musical. I loved the show when it was on ITV and I feel so honoured to be working with such a talented group of people. I know I am going to learn so much from Kay and Nicholas and I can’t wait to start rehearsals.”
Fat Friends first hit TV screens in October 2000. The series follows the lives of a group of overweight friends as they struggle with the absurdities of modern dieting. Running for five years on ITV, the show starred Steadman, Gaynor Faye, and Lisa Riley and launched the careers of James Corden and Ruth Jones.