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TV Interview

Mitch Hewer ('Britannia High')

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Mitch Hewer ('Britannia High')
That Mitch Hewer is a bit of a dark horse, you know. After graduating from Skins earlier this year, the young actor landed a part in ITV's big new musical drama Britannia High (and spent some time revealing an entirely different side of himself, but that's not for here). The new role is squarely in "triple threat" territory, requiring Mitch to act, sing and dance. How equipped was he for the challenge? And what on Earth is the deal with that curly new hairdo? We gave Mr Hewer a call to find out.

What's Britannia High about?
"Britannia High is this new, edgy series which follows the lives of seven kids, their friendships and the troubles they go through at stage school. There's a live episode at the end of the series, which has never been done before. I think it's totally different from High School Musical, Fame and that era of dramas."

What's your character, Danny, like? He's very different from Maxxie...
"He's a lot different from Maxxie! Danny is very much the charmer, the ladies' man of the school, the joker. He's an all-round talent and a very accomplished musician who plays the piano to a very high standard. But he does have a problem which threatens his future at Britannia High, and it's the last thing that any of the students want because they're all there to be the best. You find out in episode two what it is."

There are lots of song and dance numbers in the show. Are you a natural dancer?
"I've tapdanced since I was 11 years old. I always wanted to be a tapdancer and that's all I ever wanted to be. I never dreamed of being an actor! [Acting] just kind of came along, which was a bit surreal for me."

You had a big dance number in a church in Skins. Do you think that swung you this role?
"I don't really know. Some people could say that. The only thing I know is that I auditioned like everyone else did and I prepped just as hard as everyone else had to prep. I guess the part of Maxxie in Skins meant I had a profile already, but I still had to have a seven-hour audition with Arlene [Phillips], which was quite tough."

And is it you singing in the show too?
"Yes, it is. I never trained in singing, although I happened to go to a college in Bristol called SWADA (South West Academy of Dramatic Arts) when I was 16. But to me training is when you go to London and train."

What do you make of the comparisons to High School Musical?
"I feel Britannia High is aimed at an older audience than High School Musical. Britannia High is more of a serious drama, with the music and dance on top. Also we have a reason to go into songs, because we're at drama school."

Were you happy with the way things ended for Maxxie on Skins?
"Well yeah, I guess so. It was quite a nice ending, going to London. I had an amazing experience doing Skins. It was the first acting I'd ever done in my entire life, so I had to learn on set for those two years. I had to keep my head screwed on and learn from the other cast."

Have you stayed in touch with the cast since filming ended?
"No, unfortunately I haven't. I guess we've all gone our separate ways. I don't know if they see each other but I'm in Manchester so I'm quite far away from where I originally live. I don't know if they're working now. I haven't got a clue."

Was it your choice to overhaul your hair for Britannia High?
"It wasn't my choice but I think it's good for me as an actor to completely change my look. I don't want to get stereotyped through my blonde hair. Maybe I'll do a film next time and have crazy make-up on!"

What are your career ambitions for the future?
"I'd love to be able to do a really good English movie. My dream is to go to Hollywood and see what happens over there. All I can do is work really hard because I'm sure there's someone out there who has the same level of enthusiasm as me and can do the same stuff as me, if not better. I have to give it everything I have to get where I want, which is in LA doing Hollywood blockbusters."

Britannia High starts Sunday at 6.15pm on ITV1.

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