Playing the (lecherous) fool

Mark Moraghan as Franklin Hart in 9 to 5 - The Musical' (Photo credit Simon Annand)
Mark Moraghan as Franklin Hart in 9 to 5 - The Musical' (Photo credit Simon Annand)

Girl power is at the heart of 9 to 5 The Musical in which three female office workers turn the tables on their sexist boss by tying him up and taking control of the company.

Thus the role of Franklyn, played by Mark Moraghan in the production coming to the Sheffield Lyceum next week, is very much the fall guy.

“He’s a lecherous old fool who gets his comeuppance,” the actor agrees. “He doesn’t have many redeeming features but it’s great to play these kinds of characters.”

Moraghan took over the role of Franklyn from Ben Richards in February.

“It was a tough ask,” he reflects. “You have to hit the ground running, rehearsing on your own while the show is going on. I didn’t get a run through and went straight into the tech rehearsal. It didn’t help that my opening night in York was held up for an hour with technical problems.”

It meant learning as he went along and thankfully that’s all behind him now.

We know the actor from enduring TV roles in straight drama such as Owen Davis in Holby City, Ray Wyatt in Dream Team and Greg Shadwick in Brookside, but did he have a musical background?

“I trained in theatre and I was in a band when I was 16 or 17 but I got my first telly when I was 15 and had to choose between the two,” he explains. “I chose a career as an actor and music took a back seat.”

Although, over the years I have done lots of shows with a bit of music in it.”

Then in 2007 came a turning point in an unexpected way. He broke his femur in a charity football match which caused him to miss out on an acting role and instead he appeared on the BBC singing competition Just The Two Of Us, partnering Atomic Kitten’s Natasha Hamilton, and coming second.

Compere of the show was Nicky Campbell who, in addition to being a radio and TV presenter, has always had a musical bent (he started out as a jingle writer). He suggested a collaboration with Moraghan which resulted in a jazz swing album, Moonlight’s Back in Style, written and co-produced by Campbell and released on Linn Records. “Nicky also did backing vocals,” reports Moraghan .

He has continued to balance musical andstraight acting. “I do a lot of narration work and I’ve just got a new job which I can’t talk about,” he says, but his Wikipedia entry says he is the new narrator for Thomas the Tank Engine.

He recently also appeared in a children’s TV drama, Rocket’s Island, filmed in Liverpool and the Isle of Man. Though long resident in Kent, Moraghan maintains his strong links with his native Merseyside and will be taking part in a summer proms concert with the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in an evening of James Bond music. Indeed he still sounds Liverpudlian, though Lyceum audiences next week will hear an American accent.