Brookside star Louis Emerick on playing Horse in The Full Monty
- Credit: Archant
A heart-warming tale of six unemployed steelworkers, who form a male striptease act in order to make some cash, took the movie world by storm 21 years ago.
The Full Monty was an unexpected box office hit becoming the UK's highest grossing film ever until Titanic took its crown.
It also created some of cinema's most iconic moments – the memorable dole queue scene played out to Donna Summer's disco anthem Hot Stuff, and the finale striptease where the characters go 'the full monty.'
Adapted into a highly successful stage show, which has toured twice before to Norwich, The Full Monty returns to the Theatre Royal with an all-star cast this autumn.
Stage and screen actor Louis Emerick plays Horse, one of the show's more mysterious characters who was portrayed in the movie by his fellow Liverpudlian thespian Paul Barber (Denzil in Only Fools and Horses) alongside a stellar cast including Gary Lucy (Hollyoaks, EastEnders and Footballers Wives) and Andrew Dunn who is best known as Tony in Dinnerladies.
Louis is returning to the role for the fourth time and says he is 'very much looking forward to getting back on the horse and donning the thong once again!'
Louis spent 12 years as Mick Johnson in Brookside and had a recurring role as PC Walsh in Last of the Summer Wine, was Norman the doorman in Benidorm, Herman in two series of the hit comedy Zapped! and most recently Mike Thornberry in Coronation Street, plus he played Santa in Elf the Musical.
READ MORE: It is Norwich's smallest pub - but what is its food like?The show has drawn Louis back time after time because of its poignant bittersweet story and the journey the characters go on.
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'I just like all the characters. They are all so believable. They are all so real.
'I like the fact Horse has been a loner and then through seeing this one poster and discovering and meeting these five guys, and probably through them a whole community he didn't realise was there, he goes on a journey, and forges a friendship and association for life.'
That theme of friendship is important in the story and the issues dealt with are still relevant today, from unemployment and fathers' rights, to depression, sexuality, body image and suicide, so it is far from the simple girls-night-out show it is sometimes reputed to be.
'It is six guys who struggle through adversity and triumph. It's not about stripping, it's about these guys who are not gym bunnies, they can't dance a lick, and that's why everybody can identify with it.
'When guys look at it they are looking at guys who could be them or guys they know. 'It's still relevant today.'
There have been other moments in Louis's packed acting career that he is proud of and he has worked with some big names.
'I was in the very first play that Eddie Redmayne did in 2003 when he first came out of drama school.
'I worked on stage with Mark Rylance, another Oscar winner, and have filmed with Tom Hardy and Daniel Craig – I wonder whatever happened to those guys!'
Louis first came to national attention on Brookside. 'I went in for one episode in 1989 in March or April as Terry Sullivan's work- mate.
'It was a nice episode and I played a practical joke on him.
READ MORE: Christmas shows and pantomimes in Norfolk in 2018'Terry thought we were going to an address to pick up some furniture and I knew it was to go and collect a dead body.
'It was a nice one to be in and on the strength of that they gave me 11 episodes, which I filmed between June and July in 1989, and in 1990 they made me a regular and I was there 12 years – so one episode went to 12 years.'
Louis is looking forward to touring to Norwich again.
'I love it. It's our third time going back and it's got a great energy.
'Before I used to think Norwich was quite countrified, but it's got great bars, great culture, great places to live.
'There's always something going on and I'm really excited that we are going back there.'
The Full Monty runs at Norwich Theatre Royal from November 26 to December 1 at 7.30pm with matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday.
Book online on the Theatre Royal website , in person at the box office call the box office on 01603 630000.