Aled walking in the air over White Christmas
THERE'S one song which is guaranteed to put you in a festive mood... White Christmas.
Now you can indulge in the Yuletide spirit with a spectacular stage musical based on the classic 1954 film.
White Christmas, which opens at the Theatre Royal Plymouth next week, boasts such hits as Blue Skies, How Deep Is The Ocean, Happy Holiday, Sisters and the iconic title song.
The stage version of this family favourite began its life in 2007 at the Theatre Royal with a cast headed by Dallas star Ken Kercheval and Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft.
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The show returns with Aled Jones, pictured right, and Adam Cooper as song and dance duo Bob Wallace and Phil Davis – the parts played in the film by Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby. Joining them are Dancing on Ice and Hear'Say's Suzanne Shaw as Judy Haynes and Roy Dotrice as General Waverly.
"It's the ultimate feelgood musical," says Aled Jones during a brief break in rehearsals.
Filming commitments meant he didn't join the company for the first week and he's working hard to catch up.
"Luckily with the character I play there's no acting required," laughs Aled. "He's a nice guy and a little bit of a softie."
In this magical musical, wartime buddies Bob and Phil are successful performers who – on hearing that their old general's Vermont Inn is struggling to find guests because of a lack of snow – decide to put on a show, round up all their Army buddies and save the inn from closure. And, of course, they both find love in the process with the delectable Haynes sisters.
"The music is just fantastic and we get to sing some really lovely songs," says Aled.
"My favourite in the show is Count Your Blessings."
Busy father-of-two Aled is certainly able to count his blessings, having notched up an amazing 25-year career in showbusiness from his early success with the music from The Snowman.
Since then he's recorded hit albums, performed around the world and turned to presenting with shows on Radio 2 and Songs of Praise and Escape To The Country on television. Last year he was on stage in the West End in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
"I have been very, very lucky. For the past five years I haven't stopped. The next day off I will get is January 10.
"There's been a lot of variety – this morning I interviewed Sir Ranulph Fiennes, on Christmas Morning I'll be working live on Radio 2 and on Boxing Day we'll be performing in Manchester."
Despite the busy schedule, Aled didn't hesitate to say "yes" to White Christmas.
"It's definitely feelgood, which is what we need. The show starts with Happy Holidays and ends with White Christmas, then down comes the snow.
"There's real quality and an enormous amount of effort has gone into getting it right – there's a cast of over 30 and an orchestra of 19. It's amazing to look at the dancers. They are phenomenal. They really put their heart and soul into it."
White Christmas is at the Theatre Royal Plymouth from Tuesday until Saturday, November 21. Box office: 01752 267222.