JOHN was well known to London West End audiences for his stage roles in shows like Cats and Chicago, before finding nationwide fame as Christian Clarke in EastEnders.
He has toured extensively with his one-man show Stripped. John won this year’s Celebrity MasterChef, and he also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.
You’ve had troubles. What led to your sobriety?
I lost my mum to Alzheimer’s, and I now think it was her gift to me. Sobriety also made me realise I had to apologise to people.
And you put that into your show, Stripped?
It’s me working out why, after years of alcohol and drug abuse, I’m newly sober. I reconnect with my nine-year-old self, the boy who went to the Royal Ballet School full of hope.
So it’s ultimately uplifting?
Oh yes. I even finish with a dance tribute to Fred Astaire. Then I go and lie down. At 47 it takes it out of me (laughs).
Why didn’t you just go into therapy?
Honestly? I couldn’t afford it, and I was working non-stop to pay for my mum’s dementia care.
Why did you do Celebrity Big Brother?
Money. I found mum a care home but they wanted three years fees up front. I got my agent to approach both Big Brother and I’m A Celebrity and they pitched against each other. The cheque for £150,000 went straight to the council for mum’s care fees.
So, not a career choice then?
I hated every minute of it. It made me ill. But if sleeping next to Gemma Collins for six weeks made my mum’s life better, so be it.
You also did The Real Full Monty. Why?
I’d kept secret that I was a testicular cancer survivor for 14 years. I was overwhelmed by the reaction, and I now go and speak every month at a support group. It’s redefined me, changed the way I live.
What are you best at – Dancer, Actor, Singer?
Singer first, then actor, then dancer, but only because dancing gets more difficult as I get older. When I’m 66 I’ll still be Fred Astaire in my head.
Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
My dad. He was 51 when I was born, so we were never going to kick a ball around. But we watched the old musicals on TV together each Sunday, encouraging my love of them. He and my mum inspired me, and I will always be grateful.
You have 24 hours left to live. How do you spend it?
At Lake Como, the first holiday I had sober. There’s a man there who cooks sausages and polenta in his van. It’s the best food ever, but it’s simple. All I’d need. I’d die a very happy man.