H Side Story|
Originally Broadcast: March 2005
Broadcaster: Channel 4
H Side Story
About The Show
Ian H Watkins goes from superstar to student, as he studies a year long musical theatre course at the Royal Academy Of Music in London.
He is poked, pulled, provoked and pushed to his limits as the academy gives him the skills to become the best performer he can be.
Press Release - 'Following H's Next Steps'
By Todd Florance for Channel 4.
Posted 9th March 2005.
H Side Story follows ex-Steps singer H as he attempts to go legit with a course in Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music. Best known for naff dance moves and a knack for miming, H is in for a steep learning curve as he is pushed to his limits at the prestigious school.
We spoke to Mary Hammond, the Academy’s straight-talking Head of Musical Theatre, about her star pupil. Steps singer H’s decision to attend the Royal Academy of Music left his ex-bandmates flabbergasted. But his teacher was not surprised by the brave move.
“He comes across at the start of the programme as being quite lightweight, but he is very serious about what he wants to do,” Mary Hammond says. He is so serious that he left the lead in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat to start again at the school. To get into the Royal Academy of Music, ex-Steps singer H had to pass an audition along with everybody else.
Musical Theatre head Mary Hammond says no-one gets past her without having the right attitude and abilities. “It isn’t just about singing,” she says. “It’s about acting, there is an interview, improvisation and it’s about how you relate to other people. It definitely wasn’t a soft touch.” Ex-Steps singer H certainly isn’t in for any celebrity pampering, says his Royal Academy of Music teacher Mary Hammond. “We have people who’ve already played lead roles, and people who have starred in the West End and on TV,” she says. “One girl has even just won a Bafta.” “They’re all doing the same course. That sets the scene about the Academy’s view of fame. We’re not that impressed by people who have been pop stars.”
Teacher Mary Hammond wasn’t star struck by her famous pupil, but what do fellow students make of ex-Steps singer H? “He’s very popular,” she says. “If his fame makes any difference to them it has just made them more protective. They realise it has been hard for him.” “You’re in a place where there is a tremendous amount of talent, and it is talent that counts. What someone has done before is totally irrelevant.”
Ex-Steps singer H had his work cut out for him on his course at the Royal Academy of Music. Not only is singing and acting taught in equal measure, but also movement and dancing. “It’s a very hard week,” says H’s teacher Mary Hammond. “You’re in 9am to 9pm most days. Back-to-back classes in the morning followed by rehearsal in the afternoon. You’re lucky to get a half-hour break.” Since H began his Musical Theatre course, his teacher Mary Hammond has noticed big changes in the ex-pop star. “When cameras were on him he reverted to his Steps persona,” she says. “When people have recognised you as a certain person for so long it’s hard to change.” “But you’ll see he changes quite a lot later in the series. I’ve always seen him as very conscientious and serious, but it takes a while for that to show.” Former pop star H is determined to lose his self-admitted tag as just “the annoying one out of Steps”.
Musical Theatre teacher Mary Hammond reckons the Academy has been a good place to start. “You’re surrounded by talent,” she says. “It’s a constant reminder that you’ve got to be as good as you can be because the standard around you is so high.”