One of Britain’s original and most successful social media stars, Joe Sugg went on to win the hearts of the nation when tripped the light fantastic on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018.
After finishing as a runner-up with his professional partner, and now girlfriend, Dianne Buswell, the YouTube sensation’s career has gone from strength to strength, including a stint in West End musical Waitress plus prime-time presenting gigs.
And now Joe is now enjoying his first major TV role in the fourth series of BBC1’s lottery saga The Syndicate, playing struggling musician Sam, the boyfriend of syndicate member Roxy (Taj Atwal).
In episode three this week, the Woodvale Kennels lottery winners are in Monaco, hot on the trail of missing newsagent Frank (Neil Morrissey), who’s done a runner with their £27 million. Meanwhile, Sam must decide if he’s ready to swap late-night gigs for night-feeds to support his pregnant partner.
We caught up with Joe Sugg, 29 - on Zoom, where else!? - to find out more…
Congratulations Joe Sugg on landing your first major TV drama role. Have you always wanted to get into acting?
"Thank you, I’m really loving it. Ever since I was a kid, I've always been into playing other characters. I grew up in a little village called Laycock in Wiltshire, and there wasn’t a lot to do, so I was always borrowing my parents’ camcorder and me, my sister Zoe [Sugg, fellow YouTuber] and our friends used to put on and record our own plays and ‘TV shows’. The village attracted lots of TV production crews and, when I was in Year 6 at school, I was an extra in the BBC1 period drama Cranford, starring Judi Dench. I was fascinated, not only with the characters, but with how the whole show was put together. I loved it!"
Were you nervous when you turned up on the set of 'The Syndicate'?
"Yeah, but I think that's a good thing. It's always gonna be a little bit nerve-wracking to start with but I'm surrounded by such an amazing cast and crew, who’ve all been so welcoming. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them all. I know there will be people watching who’ll have their critical eye on ‘the guy from YouTube’ but I’ve grown used to that in my career."
In this week’s third episode, more about your character, Sam, is revealed. How does he react to the news that girlfriend Roxy is pregnant?
"Sam’s not really ready for it. He’s focused on his band, so finding out he's going to be a dad throws a bit of a spanner in the works for how he sees his life playing out. He’s got a lot of growing up to do. Sam's not a squeaky clean character, which has been really nice to play, and I think will surprise people. He’s nothing like me!"
Given Sam’s a struggling musician, is he motivated by Roxy’s win on the lottery?
"You would think so. I think in the position he's in, it would be very, very lovely to have that kind of money."
Would you say your stint on 'Strictly' helped you with filming for this show?
"The cameras don’t intimidate me at all. When we're filming our scenes, I completely forget the cameras are there - I think that comes from my YouTube work and years spent talking directly to a camera. But I would definitely say that dancing on Strictly massively helped with my self-confidence. If I hadn’t done Strictly, I don't think I’d have had the confidence to sing on stage in the West End. So thank you Strictly!"
Have you really caught the acting bug now? What would be your dream TV role?
"I’ve really enjoyed being in The Syndicate; I feel like I’ve learned so much and acting is definitely something I'd love to pursue more of. I've always wanted to play a monster in a really scary film. As for my dream role, I’d love to be an alien in Doctor Who!"
The Syndicate continues Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1
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