FORMER Neighbours and Emmerdale actor Richard Grieve is switching roles as he returns to star in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Having previously performed in the leading role of Tick, this time Richard will be handing the role to Jason Donovan as he takes on the very different role of Bernadette.
Richard said: “I was asked if I would like to play the role of Bernadette and I jumped at the chance as it’s a fantastic role and a fantastic show.
“I really enjoyed playing the character Tick in the West End as he is the focal point of the show. The character Bernadette offers different challenges.
“For this role I have to wear high heels and so it is more demanding physically.
“It’s really pleasing to see the show is so popular — we are currently in Edinburgh and we have been fully booked throughout.”
Richard has a distinguished television career being best known as Jonny Foster in Emmerdale.
He also played Sam Kratz in Neighbours and Dr Lachlan Frazer in Home and Away.
While his UK theatre credits include the national tour of ‘Footloose — The Musical’ and ‘Bells Are Ringing’ at the Unicorn Theatre, his theatre credits in Australia also include ‘The Boy from Oz’ and ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’.
Having lived in Britain, Hong Kong and Australia, Richard explains his jet setting childhood.
“My family moved to Hong Kong when I was about a year old and so I grew up there but I was actually born in Australia.
“We moved around quite a bit throughout Hong Kong and Malaysia and at the time in the 1970s most of the places we stayed spoke English so I didn’t have to learn another language — which back then would have been Cantonese.
“We moved back to Australia when I was 12 or 13 and then I moved to England about 10 years ago when I was in my early 30s.
“I grew up having to adapt and start new schools in different counties so I am quite good at fitting in.
“I moved to England by chance really. I had always wanted to expand my career at an international level and at that time I thought I had done all I could in Australia.
“To say I had exhausted all possibilities is probably not the right thing to say but I felt I needed different challenges and had planned to travel to the USA.
“We stopped off in London and some friends asked if I wanted to spend a few weeks in a panto role. I enjoyed it that much I was soon working here full time and applied for citizenship and now a decade later I am fully established and set up here.
“If you was to ask if I would move back or move again, it’s a never say never sort of thing.
“I have a sister who still lives in Australia so I would like to possibly visit her and maybe star in a stage show while I am there.
But as we have tour dates throughout 2013 and up until March 2014, any visit won’t be for at least another year yet.
“As for doing more television in Britain, I don’t think any actor can turn down work anymore.
“Being scripted into a show such as Emmerdale has its benefits of a long-term contract but at the same time it restricts you to what else you can do as you are bound by a fixed term contract.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert will be performing at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham for a two week run between March 18 and 30.