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Ben Freeman

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Ben Freeman
It's been a tough couple of years for former Emmerdale actor Ben Freeman after he was accused of, stood trial for and ultimately cleared of rape in Barbados. Now, the 28-year-old actor - who played Scott Windsor in Emmerdale - stars in the all-singing, all-dancing production of Dreamboats And Petticoats. DS recently caught up with Ben to chat about the musical, his recent ordeal and a potential return to the Yorkshire-based soap.

Can you tell us a little about the musical?
"It surrounds a group of kids who are talented singers and musicians. They go to this youth club and the story follows their love stories. It's kind of like a modern-day, English version of Happy Days and it's written by two fantastic sitcom writers Maurice Gran and Lawrence Marks. The lines are great - it's very funny. The plot sees them enter a singing competition, so there are loads of songs that the audience will know to sing along and dance to."

What role do you play?
"I play Norman, who's like The Fonz – that's the only way to describe him. He's really cool, has a swagger to him and thinks all the girls love him. I absolutely love the character."

Have you done much preparation for the role?
"Well I go to the gym anyway, but I've been doing a lot more running and cardio because it's incredibly tiring doing all the routines. I've also been speaking to my dad because he was a '50s child, so he knows all about the era and he had an enormous quiff like I have in the show!"

Who else is in the cast?
"There's Scott Bruton from the X Factor who plays Bobby and Jennifer Bidall from Hollyoaks, who's playing my love interest Sue. It's great watching people who can sing, dance and play about 14 different instruments at the same time!"

Do you play an instrument?
"I play a bit of piano, but not an awful lot. I'm not brilliant at it, so I leave the rest to the band. "

Do you enjoy the kind of music featured in the show?
"I love it. My dad used to play it all the time. Even if you didn't grow up in the '50s, though, there are numbers that you'll recognise. There are a lot of Elvis numbers and Hank Marvin ones. Then there are classics like Twist Again by Chubby Checker. It really is great music."

What's your favourite music from the show?
"The track that I go on stage to is The Wanderer by Dion, I love that one. That'd have to by my favourite track."

How have the events of the past couple of years affected you?
"It's made me focus more on my career and look to the future. I have a completely different outlook on life now. I'm not upset, angry or disappointed, I'm just really pleased that I've got another job and am able to move on."

There's been a lot of talk of you potentially returning to Emmerdale to reprise your role as Scott Windsor…
"I loved playing the character – I played him for 10 years and he had a great screen family. The Windsors were fantastic – they were great comedy value. With Scott, you loved him and hated him at the same time."

Is that something you'd still be interested in returning to?
"Yeah, definitely. I'm doing Dreamboats And Petticoats for at least the next six months and there's hope that it'll go to the West End. If it did, I'd love to do this, but because of the way I left Emmerdale, there's still potential for Scott to return to the Dales. If they asked me to go back, then I'd definitely think about it. I love the show and love the people."

Have you attended the meetings that have been reported in the press?
"Yeah, I have. There is talk, but we'll have to see what happens. Last year an the year before were the two worst years of my life, but this year is looking great."

Do you still keep in touch with any of the cast?
"All the time. I still see Deena Payne [Viv] a lot and play football with Kelvin Fletcher [Andy]."

Have you seen much of it recently?
"Emmerdale's been going for a long time and all soaps have their good times and bad times. At the moment, I think it could do with some life breathing into it, but at the end of the day, it's still there and people are still watching it. I'm sure it'll be around for a long time to come."

Dreamboats And Petticoats began its run at selected theatres around the country yesterday. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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