Les Dennis talks to Globe columnist Peter Grant on how he became fighting fit and is now betting on a summer stage hit.

Les Dennis is good at losing pounds - in more ways than one.

He has just filmed an arduous well-being special for BBC1 as part of Sport Relief and has shed nineteen pounds in the process.

The popular Liverpool entertainer’s next major stage role is about a priest who also loses plenty of pounds – of a different kind... he likes a flutter.

Fresh from his success in the Addams Family UK tour, Les told the Globe: "I have just filmed a special for Sport Relief called Famously Unfit in which I took on a celebrity challenge with Miles Jupp, Susan Constantine and EastEnders star Tameka Empson."

Viewers can see the programme on March 18 as part of a live Sport Relief week running, so to speak, until March 23.

Now Les is looking fit and ready for his next stage role.

Les appeared there in a one man play about the late comic Jackie Hamilton. And he was last there as the star and co producer of Alan Bleasdale’s revisited drama - Down the Dock Road.

So what made him decide to tread the boards again starring and producing with the Royal court?

He explains: "I was a judge for the Hope University Playwriting Competition and this was the runner written by Gerry Linford.

"It was originally called A Prayer to St Cajetan but we have changed it to The Miracle of Great Homer Street that will appeal to all the Scousers out there.

"St Cajetan was an Italian and patron saint of gamblers. The story is set around 1978 World Cup." 

Playing a priest is a new direction for the former impressionist and Family Fortunes game show host from 15 years.

"I have never donned the dog collar before. And I haven’t based him on anyone. But he is of Liverpool Irish stock and enjoys trips to Billy Hill and sons turf accountants."

The priest his on a winning streak but is there divine intervention?

One of his parishoners gives him a room in her house where he bonds with her husband Terry - played by Andrew Schofield.

‘‘I am now going where the director, Bob Eaton, takes me.’’

Les, 64, is also breaking new ground away from performing with a debut foray into being a childrens’ author.

His autobiography Must the Show Go On was critically acclaimed.

"I am finishing a book with about two kids - my own kids.

"I hope to do summer book signings with a Wirral date."

For now Les is getting into character as Father Aherne and he hopes Royal Court regulars who love home- grown comedy productions will flock to see this brand new play.

He says: "There’s a twist in the tale - after all, there is a miracle going on." 

Welcome back, lean looking Les.


The Miracle of Great Homer Street on from June 1 to 30.

For tickets call the Royal Court box office on 0151 709 4321.