John Thomson embarks on first professional musical Hairspray in Blackpool

For more than three decades, comedian and actor John Thomson has been a household name we have known in this business we call show.

He has starred in comedy shows like The Fast Show, films like 24hr Party People, and dramas like Cold Feet.

He is now turning his hand to musicals after his impressive stint on ITV's The Masked Singer.

And John's starring in his first professional musical, Hairspray, at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

It tells the story of teenager in the 1960s who decides to fight back against racial discrimination.

West End star and Loose Women presenter Brenda Edwards joins him on stage, taking on the iconic role of R&B record producer Motormouth Maybelle.

John, who plays the main character's dad Wilbur Turnblad, said there is no better person to learn from than Brenda.

He said: "Her voice is amazing. She smashes it and blows me away every night.

"We're all just on stage, but behind the back. So you can just watch anything and I always watch Brenda learning from her."

John appeared on the 2020 series of Masked Singer as 'Bush Baby'. Credit: ITV's The Masked Singer

A few months ago we saw John unmasked as Bush Baby in the The Masked Singer, something he says was more daunting than Hairspray.

"This is much easier", confirms John. "Well, the thing about that was I did pick big songs like Tom Jones. A big song because I can do impressions.

"The Bush Baby thing was probably the hottest, loneliest job I've ever done."

When asked how singing and the dancing is going John laughs and says: "The song 'You can't stop the beat' is so fast.

"There's so many moves, so many, it's just like loads!

"My daughter came to see it the other night - she gave me two notes - one, you fluffed the lines and she's right I did.

"And she went 'you're one behind dad'."

After starring in the recent 'Strictly The Real Full Monty', Brenda says she has lost about one and a half stone on the Ashley Banjo diet.

"I recently did it because I went through breast cancer, and this is five years that I'm cancer free."

Hairspray is on at the Opera House at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool until the 2 January.