Natalie Anderson, known for ITV’s Emmerdale and the West End production of Wicked, has been announced to join the U.K. tour of Fat Friends The Musical, which features a score by Nicholas Lloyd Webber (son of Andrew Lloyd Webber).
The award-winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator, Kay Mellor. The production will launch at Leeds Grand Theatre November 7 ahead of an extensive U.K. tour in 2018.
Anderson joins a cast that includes U.K. X Factor winner Sam Bailey, Elaine C. Smith (Two Doors Down), Jodie Prenger (Oliver!, Tell Me On a Sunday), and former England cricketer Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff (at select tour stops).
Bailey will share the role of Betty, originated on TV by Alison Steadman, with award-winning comic and actor Smith, who will step into the role during three Scottish dates in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen.
Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
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.
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.