In 2000, Ian became a founder member of 4 Poofs And A Piano and, within eight months of being together, they were spotted by Open Mike Productions and found themselves starting a television career as the house band on the BAFTA and Comedy Award winning Friday Night With Jonathan Ross.
On top of the 9 years spent at the BBC with Jonathan, where they introduced guests from Kylie to Madonna, David Attenburgh to Quentin Tarantino and Daniel Craig to Tom Hanks, the boys also took 4 sell-out shows to the Edinburgh Festival, played the Glastonbury Festival 6 years in a row, had 3 successful national tours, supported Joan Collins on her one woman show and played comedy festivals all over the country.
They were given a regular slot on the newly launched Daybreak for ITV1 and made numerous other television appearances including This Morning;Loose Women,Children In Need, Comic Relief, Sport Relief, The Politics Show and BBC Breakfast . They were guests on more radio stations than they can remember and also had the pleasure of performing with Neil Diamond, Jimmy Osmond and Abba’s Benny Andersson.
Prior to joining the group, Ian trained at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama then headed into the giddying world of musical theatre.
He played a Tap Dancing Chorine in No, No Nannette; 3rd Pirate from the left in Treasure Island The Musical; Trombone playing twin in The Music Man ; Asher in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Fred & Cordell Hull in Annie; Bobby in Cabaret and Annas in Jesus Christ Superstar.
In the West End, Ian was seen in Call Me Madam, with the late Noele Gordon; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, playing Caleb and Peter Pan The Musical, with Lulu and George Cole.
He appeared in one Royal Variety Show and two Children’s Royal Variety Shows; The Kelly Monteith Show and The Eric SykesShow, for BBC 1 and on Channel 4, Ian provided the face and voice-over for a short feature called Luvvies On The Dole. His film credits include Gunbus, which was so popular it never made it into a cinema; Anxiety and The Nutcracker with Joan Collins and Paul Nicholas.
He made his professional debut at the Bradford Alhambra as The Prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with further panto appearances at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley and Chichester Festival Theatre, with Barbara Windsor, Christopher Timothy and Trevor Bannister.
Ian left 4 Poofs and a Piano in 2011 to rekindle his theatre career. He started by playing the King in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Spa Theatre in Bridlington. He also went on for the Dame with only 2 hours notice when the original Dame fell ill. His performance was such a success he was invited back the following year as Dame in his own right.
Between those two trips to the seaside, Ian had a very happy summer appearing on the London Fringe in The London Revue and in the summer of 2013, Ian was in New Brighton playing Peter Lovich in the world premier of Stand Up the Musical with Billy Pearce, Darren Day, Dean Sullivan and Lionel Blair.
Back in pantoland, Ian once again played the King in Sleeping Beauty, directed by Debbie Flitcroft in which he found himself part of the panto’s comedy double act with comedian Richard Blackwood.
In 2015 he was delighted to be invited by Debbie Flitcroft and her husband Roy Hudd, to join their hand-picked cast for a production of Dick Whittington at the famous Wilton’s Music Hall in London, the oldest surviving music hall in Europe. It was the first panto ever produced in that historic building and the first time Roy had played Dame. Ian was thrilled to spend the festive season playing opposite one of his comedy heroes.
He is equally thrilled (and more than a little daunted) to be playing Larry, another comedy hero, and hopes he can do the great man justice.
Lee is a Manchester based actor and comedian. A regular on the comedy circuit for the past few years, he has also worked as a TV warm up for ITV (Loose Women, The Jeremy Kyle Show) and Channel 4 (Draw It!, Superstar Dogs)
He is a proud member of Adam Zane’s Hope Theatre Company, where he travels all over the UK tackling homophobia in schools. Through his work with Hope, he has also been privileged to perform at the Manchester Pride Candlelit Vigil for HIV/AIDS for the past 3 years, and hosted the event in 2012. In addition, he is a regular host of the main stage at Manchester Pride.
He is delighted to be returning to the theatre, and is looking forward to exploring more about Larry’s life, and those who influenced his comedy.