Fat Friends Musical Returns

  • TICKETS ON SALE TODAY (1 August 2021)

The weight is over! Following the hugely successful world premiere at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2017, Kay Mellor’s smash hit FAT FRIENDS – THE MUSICAL returns home from Tuesday 22 February – Saturday 5 March 2022.

With original music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, the show will star Lee Mead as ‘Paul’ with further casting to be announced soon.

This will mark much-loved actor Lee Mead’sreturn to musical theatre after establishing himself as a TV favourite on Casualty and Holby City in the role of ‘Lofty’. Lee Mead said: â€œI’m so thrilled to be starring in Fat Friends – The Musical. I saw the show when it first ran and absolutely loved it, so I can’t wait to now play the lovelorn vicar, Paul. I’m so looking forward to performing live again to wonderful audiences around the country and working with the incredible and iconic Kay Mellor.”

This hugely entertaining musical is based on the hit ITV show Fat Friends, that starred James Corden and Ruth Jones. Fat Friends – The Musical reunites our favourite foodie friends as they are put through their Zumba paces at their local slimming club, whilst Kelly fantasises about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams. This show of hope, humour, love and weight loss, delivers a fun night out full of laughter and encourages us all, as the final song sings, to Love Who You Are!  

After a tough year for all, friend of The Grand Kay Mellor feels that it’s the perfect time to bring this feel-good feast of a show back. Kay said â€œIssues of body image and online trolling are more pertinent today than ever and will resonate with people everywhere. Despite this, using song, dance and humour, I can guarantee that audiences will leave the show with a smile on their face and feeling better about themselves – something we all need right now. I’m delighted to be remounting Fat Friends – The Musical, thrilled to be working with the brilliant and talented Lee Mead and can’t wait for us to bring the show to so many fantastic venues around the UK and Ireland.”

Fat Friends – The Musical will be at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tue 22 February – Sat 5 March 2022

Book online at leedsheritagetheatres.com or call 0113 243 0808


Fat Friends – The Musical is created, directed and has a book and lyrics by the multi award-winning Kay Mellor, whose latest hit series of The Syndicate recently ran on BBC One. It has Music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber with Set and Costume design by Bretta Gerecke. Choreography is by Karen Bruce, Sound by Ben Harrison, Lighting by Nick Richings with Orchestrations, Arrangements and Musical Supervision by Simon Lee, Casting by Stephen Crockett CDG for David Grindrod Associates, with Additional Casting by David Shaw. It is produced by Joshua Andrews and Rollem Productions.

Lee Mead

Lee Mead is a much-loved actor of stage and screen. Having won the nations hearts when they voted him their Joseph in BBC One’s Any Dream Will Do, Lee has gone on to star in the West End in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Legally Blonde and Wicked before establishing himself as a TV favourite on Casualty and then Holby City in the role of ‘Lofty’.

Kay Mellor

Kay Mellor OBE is a Leeds born and bred Writer, Director and Actress best known for her work on several successful and ground-breaking drama series including Fat FriendsBand of GoldThe Syndicate and Girlfriends. She is also well known for her stage version of A Passionate Woman, which played in the West End and is still touring to this day both nationally and internationally.

Kay attended Bretton Hall College and graduated with a BA Hons degree in 1983. After finishing her studies, she formed Yorkshire Theatre Company, where she wrote and performed in Paul â€“ Won Best New Play in the National Student Drama Festival – Climbing Out and Mates and performed in Brecht’s Man is Man. Kay also played Dr Baker in The Practice, PC Kershaw in Albion Market and Mrs Butterworth in All Creatures Great and Small.

She then began working for Granada Television, working on their hugely popular soap opera Coronation Street, the most watched programme on the ITV network. In 1989 she also wrote many episodes for the popular Channel 4 soap opera Brookside. Kay wrote for the anthology drama series Dramarama, before in 1988 co-creating the long-running children’s drama Children’s Ward with her Coronation Street colleague Paul Abbott. The series was awarded Best Children’s Drama by the Royal Television Society in 1995 and won Best Children’s Drama in the 1997 BAFTA Awards. She also created the soap opera Families (1990-1993) and wrote and starred in four series of the family show Just Us (1990 – 1994) which, amongst other accolades, was awarded Best Children’s TV programme by the Writers Guild of Great Britain.

Since then, Kay has written a host of highly-acclaimed and popular television drama serials including: Two series’ of Band of Gold (1995, Royal Television Society Best Network Programme and ITV Programme Of The Year); Five series’ of Playing the Field (1998, twice BAFTA nominated for Best Drama Series); Four Series’ of Fat Friends (2000, twice BAFTA nominated and James Corden nominated for The Royal Television Society Network Newcomer in 2001, as well as winning various TV industry awards for Best Drama), Between the Sheets (2003), Strictly Confidential (2006), The Chase (2006), A Passionate Woman (2010, nominated for a Royal Television Society Award), The Syndicate (2012-2015, nominated for various Royal Television Society awards) and In The Club (2014-16).

Outside of television, Kay has written a number of feature films including Girls Night starring Julie Walters, Brenda Blethyn and Kris Kristofferson (1998, won the Audience Prize at the Sundance Film Festival); In 1999 she both wrote and directed the feature film Fanny and Elvis, starring Ray Winstone, which won the Audience Prize at the Dinard British Film Festival, amongst others; and one off drama Some Kind of Life which was BAFTA-nominated and won the Prix Niki Award.

In her parallel career as a television actress, Kay has appeared in her own adaptation of Jane Eyre (1997) and in other series such as the comedy drama Stan the Man (2002), A Good Thief (2002) and Gifted (2003). On stage, Kay has acted in Three Girls in Blue and she wrote and starred in the one-woman show Queen at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Kay was awarded the BAFTA Dennis Potter Award in 1997 for Outstanding Writing for Television. She was appointed an OBE in the 2009 Birthday Honours, and in 2014 she was awarded the Writers Guild Award for Outstanding Contribution to Writing. Kay received a Fellowship for significant contribution to television from the Royal Television Society in November 2016. Kay wrote and exec produced Love, Lies & Records for BBC One in November 2017; wrote and directed Girlfriends for ITV in January 2018; and exec produced Overshadowed for BBC Three (2017).

Kay’s stage show Fat Friends – The Musical toured UK theatres in 2017/18, and 2019 saw the launch of her next theatre project – a stage adaptation of hit TV series Band Of Gold. In February 2020, Kay was awarded the Broadcast Special Recognition Award, which coincided with the announcement of her latest commission for BBC1 – a fourth series of the hit lottery winner drama, The Syndicate, which aired on BBC1 in March/April 2021.

Kay is passionate about mentoring new and emerging talent and is supporting six writers through initiatives with the BBC and Leeds Playhouse.

Leeds Grand Theatre

Built in 1878 by architect George Corson, Leeds Grand Theatre is a major milestone in Victorian design; famed for its sumptuous interior, plasterwork and other decorative features.

Seating 1466 at full capacity, the auditorium provides a home for performances of all types, including its resident companies Opera North and Northern Ballet. Since its Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council supported ‘transformation’ in 2006, the theatre has hosted the best of the West End and other touring productions, including large musicals, drama from the National Theatre, comedians and music. The theatre played host to the world premieres of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s, The Girls (2015), and Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends – The Musical (2017) and Band of Gold (2019).

Learning and Engagement

Our learning and engagement programme – including our Youth Theatre, curriculum-linked schools’ workshops and training provision of placements and apprenticeships – enables young people from across the city to access the arts, be creative, build confidence and develop skills using the rich resources of our heritage venues.


Proprietor: Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House Ltd. (a company controlled by Leeds City Council)

Company registration number: 00978161
Registered Charity number: 500408

Chair of the Board: Paul Scholey
Chief Executive: Chris Blythe

Social media

Website: www.leedsheritagetheatres.com

Insta/Twitter: @leedsgrandls1

Facebook: @leedsgrandtheatre

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