And he even ended up starring on the show – just 20 years later!
Pop stars ending up in Soapland is nothing new. Think Kym Marsh walking the Coronation Street cobbles and Hannah Spearritt turning up in EastEnders recently.
But did you know that the role of EastEnders’ 90s favourite Jamie Mitchell – played by Jack Ryder – almost went to another very familiar face?
Find out who below…
All rise for Blue who are the latest boyband to get back together and reform as a ‘manband’! The quartet have achieved a lot since they shot to fame in the early noughties, including two Brit Awards, 11 UK top 10s and even successful acting careers.
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When we meet Antony Costa, 37, Duncan James, 40, Lee Ryan, 35, and Simon Webbe, 40, the lads’ fun personalities shine through straight away.
Here, they open up about family life, their friendship with Elton John and what it’s like working with Danny Dyer!
Hi, boys! Do you ever miss your partying days?
Simon: A lot of it was blown out of proportion. I don’t think we used to party that hard.
Lee: I f**king did!
Antony: I miss the excitement of not knowing whether a single will do well with my best mates.
Lee: Now we just know it’s not going to get played!
How do you feel when you hear your music now?
Duncan: Sometimes, you’ll walk into a bar and the DJ will recognise you, and the next thing you know they’ll put a Blue song on and I think, ‘Oh here we go…’
Lee: I don’t – I think, ‘royalties’!
Antony: If you decide to have a little dance, people slate you, and if you try to hide people think you’re embarrassed. The opening sound to All Rise still gives me goosebumps.
You’ve all got children now – would you like them to be famous, too?
Lee: My son, Rayn, has set up a YouTube channel, but I’m genuinely worried about kids going online. I’m really not that keen on it. My little girl, Bluebell, is on Instagram, and I’ve told her mum she’s got to come off it.
Duncan: My daughter, Tianie, has 12,000 Instagram followers and she’s only 13. It boggles my mind.
Lee: We sound like old gits!
Duncan, you were close to Tara Palmer-Tomkinson…
We used to speak every day on the phone and I miss her voice. When she laughed, you laughed with her, it was so infectious.
Lee, how did you find working on EastEnders?
They actually wanted me to play Jamie Mitchell [instead played by Jack Ryder] 20 years ago. I told them I couldn’t, as I’d just joined this band called Blue.
Did you enjoy working with Danny Dyer?
I do remember our first scene. I’d really rehearsed, as I was nervous. He walked in and said, ‘All right, son, we’re going to get rid of that,’ and he rewrote our script. We did a fight scene and he accidentally clocked me in the jaw. He said, ‘I don’t know if I’m sorry I hit you, or for the fact you jumped straight back up!’
You’ve worked with Elton John. Do you still speak to him?
Lee: I speak to his husband David [Furnish]. Elton’s not got a phone, he’s old school.
Duncan: We get invited to his ball every year and he always sends a Christmas card.
Antony, you’ve lost four stone – did you feel pressure to look good?
There’s so much pressure. People change how they act around you when you lose weight – they suddenly show interest.
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