Belfast Telegraph

'When my name was Shane Richie junior and I went to auditions, I was expected to be my dad before I had even said a word'

Ahead of his Belfast show on February 3, Shane Nolan tells Stephanie Bell what it's like to be on stage with his famous mum Coleen Nolan and why he hopes to follow his dad Shane into a TV soap

This time last year Shane Nolan made headlines when he changed his name from that of his famous father, EastEnders star Shane Richie.

His mum Coleen Nolan was in the Celebrity Big Brother house and there was a media frenzy when Shane made his announcement.

At the time it was reported that he did it as a show of support and to surprise Coleen, who went on to win the show.

But this week during a one day visit to Belfast to promote his forthcoming concert in the city, the 29-year-old singing star admitted that being known as Shane Richie junior was holding him back in his career.

Speaking about his showbiz upbringing and his life now as a new dad and a star in his own right, he said his dream is to follow in his dad's footsteps and act in soaps. Shane was just 12 when his dad landed the role of Alfie Moon in EastEnders.

He says: "I changed my name for my career. Being known as Shane Richie junior and going for auditions was an absolute nightmare.

"I was being compared to dad before I had even opened my mouth.

"I just fancy the challenge of acting and I've done some theatre, but no TV yet. A soap would be ideal.

"Hollyoaks is just 25 minutes down the road from me which would be handy.

"I have a few things in the pipeline but I don't know for sure yet so I can't say any more.

"My parents were great about me changing my name and it was a surprise for mum. She loved it when she found out."

It was Loose Women panellist Coleen's second time in the Celebrity Big Brother house and an emotional experience for her as she opened up about her relationship difficulties.

Shane said at times it made for difficult viewing for him: "She did brilliant but she had a bit of a tough time and it was really emotional actually. My phone bill was £2,500 because I voted so much and it was brilliant that she won it.

"It was the second time she was in so in a way I knew what was coming."

Shane and his brother Jake Roche have both followed in their parents' footsteps. Jake has his own band, Rixton, as does Shane, who plays with Jersey Guys.

Jake has also established himself as an actor with a number of roles, including a six-week guest part on Emmerdale.

Shane has also enjoyed acclaim for his stage performances.

He dreamt of being a professional footballer as a child and instead became a bluecoat entertainer at the age of 18.

He did his first major UK arena tour in 2009 as support act for his mum and her sisters when The Nolans got together again for a one-off reunion tour.

He then went on to earn critical acclaim in his role as Roddy O'Neill in the UK national theatre tour of Boogie Nights.

Since then Shane has toured all over Europe and the UK as a solo singer.

He trod the boards again in 2015/16 alongside the legendary 'Hoff', David Hasselhoff, in the nationwide musical tour of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, winning stand-out reviews.

Before he embarks on another tour this year, he is finishing a long stint in pantomime which gave him the chance to work in theatre for the first time alongside his mum.

Coleen took on the role of Fairy Godmother while Shane played Dandini in Cinderella which has been running twice daily at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford from December 16 until January 28.

He says: "It has been a right laugh but panto is hard work. We were doing two shows a day in front of an audience of screaming kids but I got through it and I enjoyed it.

"It was my first time on stage with mum which was great, but we have both done stuff together before on Loose Women. We get on really well so that makes it easy to work together.

"I will have just finished panto and have two days off before my tour launches."

Shane enjoys a close bond with both his parents. Growing up with two parents in the spotlight was natural to him, he says.

He was only 12 years old when Coleen and Shane split and he says his parents did a great job of shielding him and his brother from much of the publicity that surrounded it.

"It wasn't difficult growing up with famous parents because I didn't know any different," he says.

"When dad got the part of Alfie in EastEnders I saw a big difference then. That was weird as you couldn't walk to the shops without him being mobbed.

"When they split up they both did really well to keep it out of our faces and it wasn't too bad. There was no Twitter or Facebook then and I think if there had been, it could have been horrendous."

While The Nolans are one of the most famous families in showbiz, they have also faced their fair share of heartache as cancer cast its ugly shadow over them. Three of Coleen's sisters have battled the disease.

Bernie was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2010, and underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy.

She was given the all clear but in 2012 it returned, spreading to her brain, lungs, liver and bones. She sadly passed away the following year, aged 52.

Anne, (66), was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, at the age of 49, and went through radiotherapy and chemotherapy before recovering.

And sister Linda, (58), was given a breast cancer diagnosis in 2006 and recovered, but after a fall last year was horrified to discover the cancer had returned and this time it was incurable.

Despite this, Linda's cancer was treatable and last September she tearfully revealed live on the Loose Women show that she had been given the all clear.

Shane says it has been tough on everyone in the family but he realises that his family are not alone in having had to cope with the horror of cancer.

"People go through it every day," he says, adding: "It is horrific that three of mum's sisters got it. Thankfully mum has always been clear."

As well as his career, he has his hands full as a new dad to his two-year-old daughter Amelia-Rose who he had with former girlfriend, Emma Kivell.

He says: "My daughter is beautiful and I like to think I am a good dad, I try my best. She is amazing and I think it is scary that she is two already. I can't believe how fast they grow up.

"My parents adore her, mum just thinks it is brilliant while dad is still getting used to being a granddad."

He has found new love and recently moved in with his partner to share a home together in Manchester.

He says: "I met my girlfriend two years ago and we have just started living together. Life is good and it's on track, but don't ask me about marriage.

"My girlfriend works in the beauty business and it is great that she is not in the same business as me as that can be tough on a relationship with touring and being away from each other."

He says that constantly being on the road touring was what led to the breakdown of the engagement between his brother and Little Mix star Jesy Nelson.

Shane is looking forward to his forthcoming concert in Belfast.

His new show is one which he says will have Northern Ireland audiences on their feet dancing.

Oh What a Night is an upbeat homage to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, in which Shane and his band the Jersey Guys will perform all their greatest hits.

He says: "I've been to Northern Ireland a few times and have had many a good night out in Belfast.

"It is brilliant over here and all over Ireland. It is going to be crazy in the Europa, I can't wait. We are doing all the songs of the Four Seasons from that era and it is a real feelgood show when people will be free to get up and dance."

Shane's Oh What a Night show will be in the Europa Hotel on Saturday, February 3. Tickets priced £17.50 are available from ticketsource.co.uk and Irish Tour Tickets (opposite The Europa Hotel).

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