During the early 1990s I was up for a casting for a big teen drama called Hollyoaks being launched up north. It was an open audition and there were thousands of people. There were only three female and three male leads and I went up for the part of Kirk Benson. I thought I had no chance.
Afterwards, I went away on holiday to a caravan site in north Wales with my sister. It was at the time when Paul Gascoigne was a big footballing star and was playing for England, and I decided to bleach my hair blond like he had done.
Halfway through the holiday I got a telephone call from my mum to say I'd been called back for another audition. I was horrified. I thought I'd made a huge mistake and would never get the part with my bleached hair.
I went in for the casting – there were 2,000-3,000 people up for the part. I met the executive producer Phil Redmond. I was really nervous and said: "I'm really sorry. My hair's blond." He took one look at it and said, "Don't read for Kurt, read for Jambo" – who was another character in the show. Kirk, who was eventually played by Jeremy Edwards, was suave and smooth, while Jambo was a real zany character, really off the wall. He'd climb through windows rather than go through the door and drove a three-wheeled car called Beryl. People loved him because he could do anything and get away with it. Because my hair was a zany colour it made them think of me in that role, so it turned out to be a godsend.
I was called up another two times. It was a process of elimination like The X Factor. From thousands of people I got down to the last 10 and then got the part, which launched my career.
Dyeing my hair was a mistake at the time but it actually made me get a part in the show. It made me instantly recognisable. I didn't have much money and couldn't afford bleach so I had to use Sun-In. I did that for about a year, then I changed it.
I was in Hollyoaks for two years. It was my first major role. I knew it was going to be huge because it was being advertised on bus shelters.
I went from being a normal kid on a council estate, to being on the side of a bus shelter and recognised in the street. It was a massive, life-changing moment and it was all down to me dyeing my hair blond. I'll never forget getting the part – it was one of the best feelings in the world.