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All right my Sun?; Ex- EastEnder and pop star Sean Maguire has landed his dream role, as he reveals to VICKY SPAVIN.

SUNBURN SATURDAY, BBC1, 8.55pm IF THE sun had really been shining on Sean Maguire, he would have spent the first series of BBC1's hit drama, Sunburn, canoodling with former High Road actress Natalie Robb.

Maguire, who spent much of his young life either in a school uniform in Grange Hill or a football kit in Albert Square, had been invited to audition for the part of Janus Holidays' boy- next-door, Greg Patterson, who spent much of the last series romancing Robb's character Maria.

But Maguire was pipped to the part by James Buller, who found himself in bed with Michelle Collins in the first series of Sunburn. Not that the 23- year-old star is complaining.

In the second series of Mike Bullen's sizzling drama, which starts tonight, he plays the team's newest recruit, Lee - a man with an eye for the girls and not a care in the world.

"Lee's a fun-loving, easy-going, happy-to-be-a-holiday-rep kind of guy," enthuses Maguire. "He used to work in a sheet metal factory and now he's out there surrounded by beautiful women in the sunshine so he's wandering round high as a kite.

"Basically Lee's the most successful male ever. He clicks his fingers and they come running. One girl leaves and another arrives.

"There's a lot of pulling and kissing girls. It's a real bind," he jokes. "I can see now that James Buller was so well suited to play Greg!"

Janus Holidays' newly-appointed area manager Nicki Matthews, played by fellow former EastEnder Michelle Collins, soon finds promotion brings its fair share of joy and trouble, especially in the form of Lee, who often finds himself in trouble. His laid back attitude drives Nicki mad, but he's cute, so more than often he gets away with it.

"He is very like me, although my personal life is a bit precarious at the moment, to say the least," admits Maguire. "There's no way I could pull like Lee can. That part of him couldn't be further from me. I suppose you could say he's the youthful side of me - me without the hassle, the worry and the responsibility. He's the kid in me."

Maguire has had his fair share of luck with women. The one-time partner of Holby City's Lisa Faulkner had girls falling at his feet when he quit EastEnders to launch a singing career.

"When you're a pop star you have girls falling for you. It's something you indulge in, but when you get older you realise there's not an awful lot of gratification in living your life that way."

Despite his youth, Maguire is no newcomer to acting, having clocked up a massive 17 years in the business.

"I have been in the industry since I was five, but I don't feel an old hand," he says. "You never get close to learning it all. But I do feel a lot older than my years.

"There are lots of things I wish I'd done in my career - and lots of things I might not have done, looking back now. But I don't believe in regrets. Everything I have done has served some learning purpose."

Maguire's stint on EastEnders, playing the part of Aiden Brosman, may have been short- lived - he quit after just one year - but it was vital exposure. It catapulted him into the public eye and without it, his singing career might never have taken off.

"EastEnders was a job which did me an awful lot of good - and hopefully I didn't do the show any harm! I've got nothing but good things to say about it."

It wasn't until he joined the cast of Sunburn, filming in Portugal last year, that he really got to know his EastEnders co- star Michelle Collins. The couple are now firm friends.

"We simply didn't have a lot of scenes together in East Enders," he says. "It's not the kind of show where you socialise, but on Sunburn, things were different and we got to know each other well. We became very close.

"We were out in Portugal, going out and getting drunk together. It's been one of the most fun jobs of my career."

It will come as no surprise to discover Maguire didn't find it particularly hard to accept a role which entailed spending weeks filming in Portugal. He even managed to fit in a spot of research on the sunny island of Ibiza before filming began.

"I'd just finished filming at Christmas, and I'd been touring England with a play, so I really fancied a nice job. Sunburn was perfect.

"I went to Ibiza because I wanted to have a bit of fun, and I've been before. But I'm getting a bit too old for all that. It wasn't as much fun this year."

Maguire's latest production, a stage play called Funny About Love, kicks off this week in Chichester.

"It might go to the West End, which I'd love to do, but at the moment I'm rehearsing from 10am to 5pm, doing interviews in my lunch hour. I've got a lot of personal things goings on in my life; I'm house- hunting - and it's my 13-year-old sister's birthday party tonight.

"There's not an hour in the day that's not accounted for. What I really need is a holiday ..."
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Spavin, Vicky
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 22, 2000
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