Will Young looking forward to Sandringham gig

Sarah HardyOur favourite pop idol, Will Young, is the first ever pop star to play at the Queen's Sandringham Estate. Sarah Hardy catches up with him prior to the gig this Saturday.Sarah Hardy

You must have been one of the millions who watched and wept as Will Young battled with Gareth Gates to win the inaugural Pop Idol series back in 2002? It was compulsive viewing and really got us all hooked on talent shows! Just look what has followed - X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and many more.

Unlike many wannabees, Will has stayed the course - presumably because he has actually got some talent! He's certainly not your average identikit pop star as he manages to get the balance right in satisfying his own artistic needs and be commercial enough to make some cash!

He's made some catchy hit pop tunes, appearied in a movie with Dame Judi Dench, and even been the subject of a South Bank Show - one of the last. So life is pretty good for Will - a view he readily agrees with.

'Yep, I'm very comfortable with life at the moment. It was very exhilarating during Pop Idol. We were chased everywhere by the paparazzi but now I can go out and about without people jumping out at me to get a photo. I quite like being left alone. And obviously I'm happy with the way my music is going,' he says.

Again, unlike many previous talent show participants, Will is happy to chat about his Pop Idol experiences and is very grateful for them. 'I'll always be proud of the show - and thankful. It was an amazing and manic time. But it is where I found my voice, discovered what I could do - and wanted to do,' he says.

And he adds that he enjoys watching talent shows such as the X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. 'We all do, don't we, they are great fun. I'd never be snobby about them,' he says.

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Will, now just in his 30s, keeps in touch with some of his Pop Idol colleagues, especially Gareth Gates. 'We run into each other quite often, I think he's done really well for himself - and, of course, he's married with a child so it's all going well for him, too.'

The Sandringham gig is particularly exciting as Will hasn't been on the outdoor concert trail for a few years so he's itching to get out there in all that fresh air. 'You are a lot freer outside, it's a different atmosphere, especially as the light starts to fade and the shadows begin.'

Audiences at Sandringham can expect plenty of his hits, from Leave Right Now to Changes plus new material. 'I do tend to try out new pieces, to road test ideas and see what the reaction is,' explains Will, who says he hopes to see Prince William or Prince Harry in the audience! 'That would be something, wouldn't it' he laughs. 'I'd get them up on stage, get them up dancing!'

His next project is something a bit different - he's the executive producer on a new movie based on Shakespeare's Coriolanus which has been filmed in Serbia, with Ralph Fiennes as the director. It's a big, meaty piece with Will also taking a small role. 'You get to learn a lot from someone like Ralph so it's a big opportunity for me.'

The film world definitely holds some appeal for Will who seems to like being both behind and in front of the camera and it's an area he wants to explore more and more. And it's obviously great to have different strands to a showbiz career. 'Sure,' agrees Will. 'I've got bills to pay and nephews and nieces to look after - and a mortgage, of course!'

Will has also just been in an episode of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, with Julia McKenzie as the seemingly innocent little old lady turned ace detective, Jane Marple. In the Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side, he plays Casey Croft, with Joanna Lumley and Lindsay Duncan also in the show. In case you haven't seen the piece, we won't reveal too much except to say that Will is great - of course!

He has also just taken part in an episode of Skins, too, the edgy C4 youth show about Bristol teenagers and their rites of passage.

Will is close to his family, particularly his twin Rupert who has struggled with depression and alcoholism and now runs a charity called the Mood Foundation which aims to help others with similar problems. Will simply says: 'He's a great and amazing man and I'm very proud of him.'

Away from work, Will enjoys going to the movies, horse riding and surfing so he's quite the action man. And he loves his clothes as we all know!

'I've been working with Aquascutum to produce a capsule collection which is fab, very me but very expensive and I also like to wear Topman - their suits are very good.'

w Mica Paris has just been announced as Will's support act at Sandringham. Expect to hear numbers from her newest album, Born Again, plus plenty of her old hits, too.

t Will and Mica appear at Sandringham on Saturday, August 7. Tickets are available on 0871 224 1112 and at ww.ticketeast.co.uk

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