A city worker with no acting experience has packed in his job to be become the Curly Watts of China.
Bi-lingual Richard Heathcote was a £26,000 translator but will now star in a brand new Chinese sitcom called ‘Ciao Britain.’
He plays Steve a dead-beat English graduate who is struggling to pin down a job post-university.
The character is the butt of other people’s jokes and has been compared to lovable but luckless Curly from Coronation Street.
Richard, 24, landed the role thanks to a call from one of his former Sheffield University lecturers who told him about the unusual opportunity to use his fluent Mandarin.
Filmed in a warehouse in Greenwich, the sitcom portrays the lives of four Chinese housemates and an Englishman living together in London.
Filming for the 30-episode first series will begin in April and the pilot is due to air on Chinese TV in September.
Richard said: “I have a real passion for comedy and feel very at home with the Chinese sense of humour, which is different to British and American humour.
“The great thing about the soap is that it is funny and I love comedy.
“My character Steve is a Chinese-speaking British guy in his 20s who the other Chinese housemates make fun of.
“He’s the butt of everyone’s jokes – a bit like Curly was in Coronation Street – and a bit unlucky in life.
“He lacks any kind of direction and is never quite able to pin down a job he is interested in. He is a graduate and struggling to get enthusiastic about anything.”
Richard, from St. Neots., Cambs., added: “The working title is currently Ciao Britain, the pilot had a great dynamic between the cast members.
“I hope the soap is a success, if the launch goes well we will be shooting 30 episodes minimum a season so the schedule will be pretty hectic – its a very exciting time.
“I did have a very good job working as a translator for Norman Fosters but this was such a great opportunity and allowed me to really embrace Chinese culture.”
Richard studied Chinese at Sheffield University and lived in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing for a year in 2007.
After graduating in 2010 he landed himself a job in London working as a marketing co-ordinator for Chinese clients for world-renowned architects Fosters and Partners.
Norman “Curly” Watts, played by actor Kevin Kennedy, was an iconic long-running character on the famous cobbles of Coronation Street.
Executive producer for Ciao Britain, Xiaoyi Li (corr), 38, who works for Opustique Infinity, yesterday (Weds) said: “The idea came from a team of us bouncing thoughts around about what we thought would make a great show for young people.
“The team were all very international people and we saw something in our experience of the city and thought we would take it to China.
“The series will be shot half in the UK and half in China. It is a very exciting time for us all.”
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