Actor John Partridge entered the Celebrity Big Brother house tonight, but given he’s due to star in the Chicago stage tour from 12th February could he ‘do a Rylan’ and pop out from time to time for rehearsals?
While the date of this year’s CBB final has yet to be confirmed, we’re expecting the show to run for at least a month. So if Partridge ends up in the final showdown that leaves him just a week to prepare for the musical. I’m no expert on the challenges of getting ready for a long-running live stage tour of course, and Partridge has plenty of experience with stints in shows including Cats and Starlight Express, but a week seems an awfully short time to memorise all that fancy footwork. Partridge is after all taking on the pretty pivotal role of Billy Flynn, alongside former Coronation Street star Hayley Tamaddon and 2013 X Factor winner Sam Bailey.
He wouldn’t be the first housemate to leave the Big Brother house for set periods of time, of course. Rylan Clark-Neal, now a presenter on spin-off show Bit On The Side, made brief exits during his winning run as a contestant in 2013 to rehearse for that year’s The X Factor Tour.
“It was agreed before Rylan entered the Big Brother house that he would be allowed to rehearse for his tour twice on-site with a choreographer,” a spokesperson for Channel 5 told Radio Times at the time.
“This was agreed on the strict understanding that he was not allowed to discuss events in the Big Brother house with anyone during such rehearsal periods.
“Rylan was escorted by a Big Brother producer at all times during rehearsal to ensure full compliance.”
By all accounts Partridge hasn’t been able to cram rehearsals in before the reality show kicked off either, with a source telling us that rehearsals are due to start this Monday. We’re told an understudy has yet to be chosen for the actor, but that Partridge himself will definitely be on stage for opening night on 12th February. He confirmed he’ll juggle both commitments himself on Twitter.
I am definitely appearing in Chicago… I look forward to seeing you there! https://t.co/MGbvCnKS8a
— John Partridge (@mustbejp) January 2, 2016
No pressure, eh?
A spokesperson for Channel 5 and Partridge’s agent were both unable to comment on the speculation.
Whether fans will keep the former EastEnders star in until the final or he’ll be back treading the boards after one of the early evictions remains to be seen. Or perhaps we’ll just hear a whole lot of the Chicago soundtrack around the kitchen?
Celebrity Big Brother continues 9pm Wednesday on Channel 5