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  1. ITV Report

Ex-England cricket captain Flintoff joins cast for fat friends stage musical

Two time Ashes winner Flintoff has started an acting career Credit: PA

Former England cricket captain Freddie Flintoff is turning his attention to the stage as he joins the cast of Fat Friends - the Musical.

He will play leading man Kevin Chadwick in Kay Mellor's latest production, which opens at Leeds Grand Theatre in November.

Flintoff, whose real name is Andrew, will star opposite Jodie Prenger, playing his fiancee Kelly, Sam Bailey and Elaine C Smith as the show kicks off a UK tour from Southampton to Blackpool.

Flintoff famously said in an interview he wasn't 'bad for a fat lad.' Credit: PA

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner - and former camp-mate on Australia's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! - said he was thrilled to be working with Mellor.

The Bafta-winning writer penned the original Fat Friends TV series, starring Ruth Jones and Alison Steadman, in the early 2000s, and has also recruited Flintoff for an appearance in her upcoming BBC One drama Love, Lies & Records.

Flintoff has also had a go at boxing Credit: PA

"Having had the pleasure of recently working on an episode of Kay's latest TV series, it's great to have the opportunity to work with her again," he said.

"I loved the TV series and think Fat Friends - The Musical, is going to give people a great night out. I'm really looking forward to it."

For Mellor, casting Flintoff was a "no-brainer" when she discovered he had talents beyond the cricket ground.

She said: "I was introduced to Freddie at one of our TV casting sessions - it was clear to me that he could leave his cricket bat behind, embody a character, and understand the drama. It was a no-brainer... he got the part.

"Then, as we were talking through Fat Friends - The Musical, I wondered if Freddie could sing.

"I am thrilled and delighted that Freddie is able to join us for our run at Leeds and part of the tour as well... I can't wait to start working with the super talented cast we've got so far."

The heartwarming romantic comedy follows a group of foodie friends who try every health fad and fitness trend around to shed the pounds.

Writing the score, composer Nicholas Lloyd Webber said the show's opening is already "nothing short of sensational" and welcomed Flintoff to the "stellar cast"