Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘The pandemic taught me a lot about myself’: Life according to… stage star Keith Jack

© PND PhotographyKeith Jack
Keith Jack

Actor Keith Jack chats about accents, a scary car crash, and 15 years since TV breakthrough, Any Dream Will Do.

You’re back on stage in Sunshine On Leith – is this your first time in the production?

Yes, and it’s actually my first time doing anything Scottish or even having a Scottish accent. I need to go back to what I sounded like at 19, before I moved to London and started doing American and English accents. I’ve got used to adding those sounds into my voice, so now I need to take them away. Instead of saying something like: “Where are you from?” I need to say: “Where are ye fae?” That’s how I spoke years ago, but when you come down to London you can’t speak like that. I talk to my dad every day, and he’s really Scottish, so I’ll just talk like he talks.

Who is your character in the musical?

I’m Ally, who along with Davy, has just returned from the war in Afghanistan. He struggles with fitting back into civilian life, how to deal with relationships, getting a job, staying in his sister’s spare room. There’s some amazing moments in the show for me as an actor. It’s an emotionally draining part – I’m not playing the love story role I usually play. It’s very different for me, it’s nice as an actor to take that on.

How does it feel to be going back on stage after Covid?

The pandemic taught me a lot about myself, and I feel I’ve come out as a stronger, better version of myself, and now I’ve got a part in a production I’ve always wanted to do. It’s an uplifting show with lots of heart and great Scottish songs. To open the theatre back up with this is perfect – I can’t think of a better show to do it with.

You had a scary moment after a show a few months ago?

I was driving home on Christmas Day after panto and my car slid on black ice and I went through a fence and into a tree. I thought I was dead. I closed my eyes and didn’t think I would open them again. I called my dad and he was in bits when he arrived, seeing how bad the crash was. I had cuts all over my body and arms but no broken bones or a mark on my face. It put a dampener on Christmas Day, wondering what could have been, but I survived it and I’m still here.

Does it feel like 15 years since you found fame on BBC’s Any Dream Will Do?

It feels like something I’ve always done, but it also doesn’t feel like 15 years, even though I look and feel completely different from then. It was such a popular show and people don’t seem to realise how long ago it was on.

What have been your highlights since then?

I don’t have one specific thing that’s a standout – I sang for The Queen, I’ve done West End shows and made albums. But the best part is the friendships I’ve made along the way.

What’s been key to your longevity?

I’ve had a good agent and a good family around me. I’ve never taken anything for the money – after the programme it would have been easy to do Big Brother but my agent said it was smart not to do anything like that if I wanted a long career. It was about picking things at the right time, and have people see I wanted to be an actor.


Sunshine On Leith, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, May 20-October 1, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, June 7-18