Actor Joe Allen owes a debt of thanks to pop group Scouting For Girls.

Because of one of their songs, he’s now in one of the biggest musicals currently running in the West End.

Since it opened last June, Joe, who grew up in Kelvedon, has been in the ensemble cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory featuring in a number of different parts including one of the Oompa Loompas and Augustus Gloop’s dad.

But it took 13 auditions to get it and the performance of a rather apt pop tune in front of legendary film and theatre director, Sam Mendes.

Joe, 29, said: “When it was time to perform in front of Sam the producers told me to do a funny pop song. I wracked my brains for ages and then decided on Scouting for Girls. 

"Elvis Ain’t Dead is one of my favourite songs but because it was Sam I had to do I Wish I was James Bond, especially as he had just finished directing Skyfall.

“He really laughed and told me afterwards he couldn’t believe it was a pop song. I cannot believe I’m in this show."

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is currently booking at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London until November 1.