A Christmas present from his mum and dad turned out to be the gift of a career for Sheffield-born actor Matt Thorpe, who is on stage in West End hit show Jersey Boys.

Matt said he got into showbusiness “by total accident. I wanted to be a sports psychologist or a sports physio. I never danced or sang at school.

“I got some singing lessons from my parents at Christmas. You got lessons and recorded a song and a CD. I thought ‘you’re actually quite good at this’.”

Eventually, Matt decided to try for musical theatre school and went to Phil Winston’s Theatreworks in Blackpool.

He left a year early when an ex-girlfriend got a job on a P&O cruise ship and said there was a male role going.

Matt said: “I went on the off-chance and got the job.” He puts it down to being in the right place at the right time.

The cruise show experience helped him to break into the West End and he has appeared in We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia, Hairspray and High School Musical.

Matt, who plays Joe Pesci, has been in Jersey Boys for five months.

Joe, who later became a Hollywood star in films such as Goodfellas, was friends with three of the Four Seasons and introduced them to the fourth.

Matt said of the role: “It’s going really well. I was with the show when it moved from the Prince Edward to the Piccadilly Theatre, which has 200 more seats.

Read the full story about hoe an Accident led Matt Thorpe to West End stage success via Accident led Sheffield-born Matt to West End stage success – The Star.