Well this is a bit awkward.

Reading the blurb on Lee Mead's latest tour he's inviting fans to join him for an intimate interview.

So what's this Lee? I ask him straight away.

"It's fine," he laughs, "ask me what you want."

Phew, there's a lot to get through from his days working the cruise ships, to winning BBC's Any Dream Will Do, to life on Casualty and now Holby City.

Where does one start? May be that first break?

He says: "I left drama school in Southend on a Tuesday and bought a copy of The Stage on the Thursday. I saw an advert for an open audition for lead singers on a cruise ship, and I got the job. I was so delighted, I immediately called my mum and dad and told them I had the job. It was a great feeling. I was 20. I was on £200 a week, but I was being paid for the first time. I was elated. It was hard work. We went up and down the Bay of Biscay, which is the third rockiest sea in the world. I did five different shows a week. Once a month, there would be a booze cruise across the Channel. We’d have to sing in a cage because the passengers were so lively."

It wasn't long before he was auditioning for the West End where his Essex cheekiness served him well.

"My friend Ian had an audition for Joseph at the New London Theatre. He had no money and asked if I’d mind driving him down to London. As I sat waiting for Ian at the stage door, one of the defining moments of my life happened. I don’t know what came over me, but on the spur of the moment, I got on my hands and knees and crawled underneath the lady taking names at the stage door and headed for the auditorium.

"From the stalls, the director said, 'right, I know you have gate-crashed. You had better give us a good audition, then.' I sang, I Want to Break Free by Queen, a song I know back to front, and I smashed it.

"There was silence for about a minute but then the director smiled and said, 'good job. very cheeky attitude and we’ll see you for the dance audition.' A week later I was rehearsing for the show. Ian said to me on the drive back to Suffolk, 'only you could have got away with that!' I ended up playing both the Pharaoh and Brother Levi. It was 12 performances a week in what is known as the hardest show in the business. At the end of the tour, I felt exhausted. But we had done amazing venues like the 2000-seat Palace Theatre in Manchester."

That hardest show in the business was to become his defining career moment when Lee was selected from thousands of performers and thrust into the spotlight in 2007 to play the iconic lead role in the West End revival of Joseph, following the very first audition by television show, Any Dream Will Do.

He adds: "Weird things go through your head when Graham says, 'the winner is…' I was thinking, 'if I don’t win this, I don’t care because I’ve had the most wonderful experience.'

"When he said my name, it was so surreal, like an out of body experience. I sank my head into my hands. A huge weight had lifted, and I was overcome by sense of a happiness. Then I thought, 'blimey, now I’ve actually got to do the role'. But that moment changed my life.

From that point Lee’s career has been a never-ending rollercoaster of engagements from stage to screen.

In the West End he has appeared in such classic musicals as Wicked and Legally Blonde, to the touring production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to name just a few.

On television Lee, who still lives close to his Southend home, has been a regular in Casualty and Holby City starring as Lofty Chiltern, a part written especially for him.

"I still insisted on an audition," he reveals, "mainly because I wanted to assure myself I could do something like that. When I was in Casualty the filming was in Cardiff but they do Holby in Elstree, London, so that's better for me in terms of getting back home.

"It can be quite intense, 12 hour days, if your character is involved in a main storyline, but I just love playing Lofty, he's a great character."

Now Lee is on the road again, this time in a very different production, Lee Mead – My Story, a ‘stripped down’ show that will combine conversation and music and see Lee reflect on his life and career.

Audiences will have the chance to listen to Lee chat about the magical moments, the highs, the lows, the memories of his life and of course performances of the songs that mean so much to him and his fans who have put him centre stage.

Lee says: "People come to see me from LA, Norway, Holland. There are about 400 of them who are hard-core fans. They come lots of times to every show I am in. For example, they would come to see me in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang four times a week. Perhaps they connect with me because I’ve always tried to be an honest and open performer. I like to be more spontaneous than that. You can see if a performance is genuine or not. You feed off each other and have an evening together. I love that. It’s the most wonderful feeling connecting with an audience."

And for this show he's getting even more up close and personal.

"I didn't want to steer clear of the lows," he tells me, "that's part of who I am, like being diagnosed with dyspraxia when I was 28. It made total sense when I found out because it always used to take me a lot longer to learn the script than the other actors.

"I've never played Colchester before," he continues, "seen plenty of shows there but never been on the stage myself. I'm actually really excited about it."

So what's next for Lee?

"I've started producing theatre," he says. "My friend Ian runs the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford and we're talking about bringing some plays there, which I'm really excited about."

Lee Mead: My Story is at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, on April 5. For tickets call the box office on 01206 573948.