Lee Ryan has told how he once turned down a role in EastEnders.
Speaking to The Sun, Lee divulged that as a teenager he declined an opportunity to take up a role in the soap to pursue pop stardom with boy band Blue. The singer’s comments follow yesterday’s (15 February) news that he has joined the cast of the serial as new character ‘Woody’ Woodward.
“When I was 16 Julia [Crampsie, Casting Director] rang my mum and said she had a part for me on EastEnders, and my mum said ‘Sorry he’s just joined a band and signed to EMI.
“Julia said, ‘Well if it doesn’t work out then give us a call’. That band was Blue and it did work out.
“All these years later, I’m 34 years old and she called me and said, ‘Lee do you want to come and audition for this part. I was like, ‘Yeah come on then.'” – Lee Ryan
Lee was told he had won the part of Woody – who has been billed as a bad boy – a day later.
“I suppose people don’t really know me as an actor so it might be a bit of a shock for them to see that I’m there, which I understand. I’m looking forward to the challenge of that I can actually do this and I’m really excited. I really want to put my head to it.” – Lee Ryan
R&B group Blue comprising of Lee Ryan, Duncan James, Simon Webbe and Anthony Costa originated in 2000. Their hits have included All Rise, Fly By, If You Come Back, One Love, and Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word ft. Sir Elton John. The band has notched up record sales of 15 million+ worldwide with 3 UK no.1 albums and 3 UK no.1 singles.
The foursome parted company to pursue solo projects in 2005, before reforming in 2009. Lee’s Blue co-stars Duncan and Simon are also currently starring in soap operas with Duncan playing shady police officer Ryan Knight in Channel 4’s teen soap Hollyoaks and Simon playing friend to the Roth family Andy Cousins in BBC Scotland saga River City.