Most actors who had just ended a run in a stunning West End success would want to bask in the glory.

Not Robert Lonsdale.

The Marsden-born star is back at home for some peace and quiet - and to enjoy muck-spreading with his dad Tom in the Pennine hills.

The actor last weekend took his final bow in the Tim Rice hit From Here To Eternity at the famous Shaftesbury Theatre and earned rave reviews.

He took the lead role of Private Prewitt, the American GI who fell for the charms of club girl Lorene in Pearl Harbour in 1941.

The part was made famous by Montgomery Clift in the 1953 blockbuster film starring Burt Lancaster.

But for Robert, it was a new experience.

He had to sing several numbers in the show and released one of them, “Fight The Fight” as a single.

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“It was a great thing to do and I’m really glad to say I’ve done it, but there are no plans for me to go down the popstar road”.

Pop star or not, Robert has come a long, long way since making his stage debut aged just eight.

He played a prince in a performance of The King and I by Marsden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, directed by well-known thespian Peter Armitage. After that came a series of roles with the company and with the drama group at Colne Valley High School.

“I realised very early on that acting was what I wanted to do but I had no idea how to go about it.

“I went to the Lawrence Batley Theatre workshops and to the youth theatre at Oldham, gaining experience. But it helped when my dad Tom did some work for a casting agent and gave me a push.

“I signed up with an agency in Manchester and things took off”.

One of the first roles for Robert was, amazingly, on Coronation Street when he was just 19. He had a very brief role as Dan Staveley in 2002 and remembers it well.

“I spend ages memorising my five lines and then looking straight the camera.

“I was working with all these other experienced actors who just seemed to turn up and immediately get into character.

“That’s the thing about TV; it demands perfection straightaway. You have to be right on the money when the filming is to be done.

“People ask if I prefer stage or TV and there’s no real answer. If you are in a long run in the theatre, you do tend to perhaps lose a bit of focus but on the other hand, there is always that instant vibe from the audience and in From Here to Eternity it was generally great.

“We got standing ovations most nights.

“On TV you need to be on song for exactly the time when they want to film but obviously it can be weeks or months between the filming and it actually appearing on screen”.

Robert, 31, is to start filming shortly on a new police drama for the BBC, alongside Trevor Eve.

It is being directed by Sam Miller, who was the man behind the hit series Luther, and will come out in eight one-hour episodes probably in the autumn.

He’s also expecting to be working on a radio play over the next few weeks, ostensibly while taking a break.

“I said I wanted to get home and relax but you can’t be afford to be away for too long.

“I plan to do some walking in the Lake District where you can really unwind but I’m also looking forward to helping my dad with the muck-spreading and other jobs.

Marsden actor Robert Lonsdale back home
Marsden actor Robert Lonsdale back home
 

“It’s as far removed from London theatre life as you can get but I’m looking forward to it.

“The only thing that worries me is knowing my luck, I’ll probably fall ill while I’m not working”.

Robert is already compiling quite a CV, with TV shows like Silent Witness, Heartbeat and A Passionate Woman behind him.

He relished the role in Eternity in London and said: “It was an incredibly brave move by Tim Rice. It was a classic film and he has come up with a stunning new version.

“Most people now want jukebox musicals, with the likes of Mamma Mia and the 50s hits, but this was so different and he created a piece of work that was very true and honest.

“It was great to be involved”.

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