Lee Mead, who brings his latest show to Hereford next month, was asked, several years ago now, to write his autobiography, not a project he was keen to take on at the age of 25. “I could have written about my life up to and just beyond Any Dream Will Do (the original BBC show to cast a West end leading role), but I was only 25, and it didn’t feel right. I thought perhaps I’d do it when I was 60.”

The impulse to share something of his life and ‘journey’ so far has however come a little sooner than expected, but not in book form, rather in the shape of an intimate, musically punctuated show that comes to The Courtyard on May xcc. Last year I just thought it would be nice to take a year off and tour smaller theatres and talk about my life – it just felt like the right time.”

He reveals that he came quite late to the stage, taking his first steps in a school production of Grease. “I was cast as Danny,” he reports, still, even years later, incredulous as the casting!

Neither did he come from an especially musical family, with the exception of his granddad Bert, his mother’s dad, who ‘loved his classical music’. “I remember being as young as six or seven going for lunch and he’d be in a comfy chair with a big set of headphones on conducting orchestras. He introduced me to classical music and I often drive with Classic FM on the radio, and I think that goes back to my grandad.

“I got to sing at the Proms last year for the first time, with Katherine Jenkins, and I was quite sad that Granddad wasn’t there but he would have been proud. It’s a funny old life.”

Even though it’s more than a decade since he clinched what must have been one of the longest auditions for a part, Lee reveals that people still – sometimes one a day, sometimes 20 – recognise him from his time as Joseph, though today he may be more familiar to TV views as Lofty, originally in Casualty and now a regular on Holby City, which lets him have time off to do the show – he’s doing two or three a month.

The show sees Lee in conversation with Beverley Humphreys, “a great friend of mine who does a show at BBC Wales. We met when I did an interview with her – it was a 20 minute interview but we carried on chatting after the show and that’s where our friendship began. I need someone on stage with me who will make it authentic, being so intimate, it needed to be someone who was a friend.”

The other member of the team is musical director and pianist Adam Dennis, accompanying Lee for the 10-12 songs that punctuate the show.

“I talk about growing up in Southend, about how I got into the business and the turning point in my career among other things. I talk about how my first job was on a car ferry The Pride of Bilbao – the first time I got to sing – and we went across the Bay of Biscay, a notorious area for storms,” he explains. “They shouldn’t have entertainment on that route,” is the only elaboration he makes!

“After that first job, I didn’t work for nine months and began to think that maybe this wasn’t for me. So I looked at becoming a teacher, which had been my original dream,” he tells me. “I think I’d have taught English or drama, maybe sport – I think teachers do a wonderful job , it’s one of the most important roles and I was quite excited and had pretty much resigned myself to retraining and then this audition came up in The Stage for a job in Yorkshire. I was the last person they saw, and appropriately as it turned out I sang ‘This is the Moment’. I sang my heart out and at the end I was asked how I felt about going to Yorkshire! I haven’t been out of work since!”

Lee has performed in many of the iconic musicals, but, he says there’s one that he’s only now ready for, and he’d love to be seen for the show:

“Phantom of the Opera,” he says. “I was in the chorus when Joseph happened, but now I feel that vocally my voice has matured and I’ve had more acting experience. I’d like to put myself forward to play the Phantom. That would be wonderful.”

But it took me five or six years to make progress with what I’d always hoped would be a dual career, combining the acting and singing.

“I got my first guest role in Casualty and the executive producer sent me a handwritten note afterwars saying thank you and I’ll keep you in mind for the future.

“I didn’t expect anything to come of it but three years later he called to tell me he’d written a part for me. That’s something that might happen once or twice in your career, and I was filming in Cardiff two weeks later. It’s great to be in a position where I can diversify.

Lee goes on to reveal another significant moment in his career came when he met Ken Dodd in the course of that very first job. Despite friends saying I couldn’t, I went and knocked on his door and ended up sharing a whiskey with Ken for half an hour, and he told me something I’ve never forgotten

“He said ‘it’s never about you, it’s always about the audience.’”

And that, he reports, is how it’s always been for him. “I love making people happy. That’s a buzz.”

Lee Mead is at The Courtyard on Friday, June 21. To book, call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit courtyard.org.uk