Among them was Paul Merton, the comedian making his musical theatre debut in the show. Merton wasted no time in giving everyone an insight into how he expects to find the experience. “I’ve already met the choreographer and told him this is a professional challenge he won’t be able to meet, as I am one of those people who can’t dance,” he joked.
He added: “He said it’s walking to music for my part, so I am reasonably happy about that.”
Unfortunately, host and co-star Michael Ball soon set him straight. “That’s not true. There’s a lot of dancing,” he retorted. Merton wasn’t fazed, however, quipping: “It’s amazing, isn’t it, how one person can ruin an entire production?”
The comedian, who plays Wilbur, went on to explain why he accepted the role. “It’s very much about a man who runs a joke shop,” he said, drawing much laughter from the crowd. “There is family involvement from other members of the cast, but that’s not really important.”
He added: “I resisted it being called Wilbur as that would be unfair to the rest of them.”
Good old Merton. Tabard admires the Have I Got News for You star’s ability to get a laugh from industry people first thing on a blustery Tuesday morning. And Tabard thinks they’ve cast the role just perfectly.