Kelvin Fletcher on his impressive new moustache: ‘It’s quite a ballsy move, isn’t it?’
Posted by  badge Boss on Jul 08
‘I got told yesterday it’s looking very “1970s porn star,” so we may need to tweak it’ (Picture: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg)

From his stint as Emmerdale’s Andy Sugden to his victory on , Kelvin Fletcher is one of TV’s most familiar faces, but he’s about to be seen as never before – quite literally, given the fulsome new moustache he’s sporting.

It’s for his latest role in the play Jack Absolute Flies Again, and he admits he’s quite taken by his new look. ‘Whenever I’ve seen somebody [with a moustache], I’ve gone, ‘Go on!’ Because sometimes you feel it’s quite a ballsy move [to have one], don’t you?’

What does his wife Liz think of the new facial ornament, I wonder? Having recently given birth to their twin boys, Maximus and Mateusz, ‘she’s not really noticed, I don’t think,’ he jokes. ‘I went home and was like, “Do you notice anything different?” and she went, ‘Oh yeah, yeah. Anyway…,’ and then handed me a baby and that was it.’

Indeed, there hasn’t been much time for admiring moustaches or anything else in the Fletcher household of late. In 2021, Kelvin and Liz bought a Peak District farm, documenting their new rural life in the BBC series Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure. And now on top of the responsibility of both the farm and four young kids, Kelvin is back acting in what he says is his first ‘proper professional play’ – and at the National Theatre, no less.

An adaptation of Restoration comedy The Rivals, and set during , Jack Absolute Flies Again is hotly anticipated, having been co-written by Richard Bean, the man responsible for the National’s mega-hit farce, One Man, Two Guvnors.

In a similar vein, Jack Absolute promises to offer much high-precision slapstick comedy while also being deeply emotional, Kelvin says. ‘We just rehearsed the last scene actually, and it’s tragic… you’re going to come out of the theatre feeling hugely moved.’

Jack Absolute Flies Again is Kevin’s first comedy role (Picture: Cameron Slater)

Amid the play’s various OTT personalities, Kelvin’s character, Dudley Scunthorpe, is the relative straight man, who finds himself in a love triangle with the titular Jack Absolute and heroine Lydia Languish. Kelvin describes Dudley as an ‘unassuming’ Northerner others foolishly underestimate for his ‘simple’ life – ‘but as they all realise later on, [his] is the right attitude to have’.

When it comes to being underestimated, Kelvin can perhaps sympathise, given the unfair snobbery that former soap actors can sometimes encounter in the industry. Kelvin says it is just ‘one of those unfortunate issues’ while emphasising that he is ‘very proud of where I’ve come from’.

As he should be – after joining Emmerdale in 1996, he won Best Dramatic Performance at the British Soap Awards aged just 15, and became a bedrock of the Yorkshire Dales series for the next two decades. When he left Emmerdale in 2016, it was because ‘at 32 years old, I was just scratching the surface of what I wanted to do artistically,’ he says. ‘I’ve been in the industry 25 years and I still feel like there’s an awful lot I’ve not done.’

Including, until Jack Absolute, comedy. When he got the call to say he’d landed the role, ‘my agent was crying. It was a real moment for both of us.’
Acting aside, lifting the Strictly Glitterball in 2019 was, of course, a huge moment for him – and one made even more impressive by the fact he was a last-minute replacement for injured .

Fans of the show will be pleased to know that he does put his dancing abilities to use in Jack Absolute – via a swing number in which he’s in fact partnered with another recent Strictly contestant, , playing the famous Mrs Malaprop. ‘Every time you look in the corner of your eye, she’s [there] doing some stretches and she gets in positions where I think “what?!”. She’s like a ballerina,’ Kelvin says, admiringly.

Kelvin was a bedrock of the Yorkshire-set show Emmerdale for two decades (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

As multi-talented as Kelvin might be – on top of his acting and dancing accomplishments, he’s also a professional motor racer on the side – life on the farm is thing that has proved particularly challenging.

Understandably, it transpires, playing a farmer in Emmerdale was not much preparation for the real thing. ‘It’s almost like thinking that I could go and fix a World War Two Hurricane plane, because I’ve played an aircraft fitter [in Jack Absolute],’ as he puts it.

However now, beams Kelvin, ‘I get the train to London, walk down the South Bank, perform at the National and then go back and I’m there mucking pigs out… it’s that variety that excites me.’ Which sounds, dare I say it, like ‘a lot’. ‘That’s the most politely anybody’s ever put that,’ says Kelvin. ‘Normally what we get is, “Are you mad?”

‘And you know what? It is crazy… [but] there will be a time maybe in five, ten or 20 years when we look back, and things are a little bit more settled – and we’ll just want to relive those chaotic moments.’ For all his many endeavours though, it’s clear that Kelvin wants to keep acting as his number one priority. ‘It sounds daft but it’s a space where I am absolutely at peace and I just feel this is my calling.’
And as for the $64,000 question: will he be keeping that moustache? ‘I think I might, yeah,’ he says.

‘I got told yesterday it’s looking very “1970s porn star,” so we may need to tweak it,’ he laughs. ‘but I’m loving it either way.’

Jack Absolute Flies Again is at the until September 3.