Next week Ranj Singh is stepping out on a journey which he hopes could change his life.

For the qualified doctor, known for his friendly lifestyle advice on morning TV will be taking to the stage of Manchester Opera House in the cult musical & Juliet.

It will be his first professional role in a musical and he sincerely hopes it won’t be his last.

Dr Ranj Singh

“I know it sounds ridiculously cliched but this is something that I’ve been dreaming of for so long,” he said. “I’ve been working so hard behind the scenes to make it happen for years and it’s happened. And what a show to kick it off with!”

& Juliet is an alternative take on Shakespeare’s great love story posing the question what would happen if Juliet didn’t end it all over Romeo.

The cast includes former X Factor winner turned West End star Matt Cardle who plays Shakespeare, Sandra Marvin and newcomer Gerardine Sacdalan as Juliet. It also features the songs of Max Martin, classic pop hits which will be instantly recognisable to fans of all ages.

“In a weird way & Juliet is the perfect show for me – it very much suits my personality,” said Ranj. “It is a party, a joyful riot in the best sense of the word. If I’m completely honest, it was so high up on the wish list that I never thought I would get it.”

Ranj has long harboured a dream that one day he would get to appear in a musical.

I’m a person who believes in pushing yourself out of your comfort zone as that is where real growth happens and that where you find happiness,” he said. “I’ve certainly done that my entire life.

“I’ve been a doctor for over 20 years and got to where I wanted to get to in term of my clinical career but I’ve always been a creative at heart.

“Musical theatre has always been my passion and it felt the right time to do it.”

Ranj says that his experiences as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018 when he was paired with professional partner Janette Manrara and subsequent Strictly Live tour help prepare him to take the plunge into theatre.

He also appeared in the TV show All Star Musicals.

“It needed me to do things like Strictly and All Star Musicals to convince myself that this could be,” he said. “I’m not musical theatre trained; I didn’t have any previous experience or grounding in it so I had to try things out to see if I could do it.

“I think by doing those things I got the confidence to say ‘look I’d really like to do this and I’d really like to give it a go’.”

He admits that most people will probably be surprised to see his name on the poster for such a big show - it has played on Broadway to rave reviews - and when it opens in Manchester it will then tour the UK until June 2025.

“I’m hoping they will be surprised in a really good way,” he said. “I want them to come to the show and say ‘wow, we didn’t expect him to do that’.

“I have been singing for years and have had singing training and obviously I’ve got a bit of dance training but I’m taking this seriously. I’ve been taking acting coaching to build up my skills as quickly as possible.

Lorna Courtney and the cast of & Juliet on Broadway (Picture: Matthew Murphy)

“I’m throwing absolutely everything at this. I want people to enjoy the show and I want them to see me among this incredible cast that we’ve got and say ‘he fits it’. I just want to do a good job.”

An added bonus for Ranj is that the show opens in Manchester.

“Manchester has become my second home working on Morning Live,” he said. “I spent half my week there every week.

“I have to say being up North - apart from the rain - is an amazing experience. I’m so happy we get to open at the Opera House just over the road from the Morning Live studio. All the gang is going to come down they are very excited - it’ll be a big family outing.”

His TV colleagues will get the chance to see Ranj belting out a Katy Perry number in the show in his role as Lance.

“We’re talking about the songs of Max Martin here,” he said. “All the songs in this show are memorable and that’s what’s so great about it.

“If you wanted to go somewhere and smile from ear to ear for a couple of hours and leave feeling happy I recommend everyone go and see & Juliet.

“Actually musical theatre should be available on prescription. We’re prescribing gyms, why can’t we prescribe theatre?”

As well as being Ranj’s first major show, & Juliet will see him having to get used to touring.

“When we did the Strictly tour, I just loved it,” he said. “I felt like a rock star going from going from arena to arena, being looked after and performing in front of tens of thousands of people.

“I miss touring and I want a bit of that back albeit it on a slightly smaller scale. But to get the chance to see all these different places, some I’ve never been to, is a wonderful opportunity.

“I will be remembering the advice Janette Manrara gave me on Strictly to just eat and sleep well and generally look after myself.

“I’ve got all the potions packed and ready - the ginger, honey and lemon - and know I’ve just got to pace myself and not get too excited.”

And Ranj is hoping that & Juliet will just be the start of his musical theatre career.

“I do not want this to be just a one-off,” he said. “I’ve fallen in love with theatre and I hope I can show people I can do this and that there can be more after this That’s the ultimate goal.”

& Juliet, Manchester Opera House, Monday, July 8 to Saturday, July 20 ( and Blackpool Opera House, Tuesday, July 23 to Saturday, July 27 (