KARL Mullen is hoping to set sail on a glittering new career.
The 28-year-old is one of 10 contestants battling it out in Showboaters, a new talent programme on Sky1.
The eight-week series will follow the physical and mental journeys of the hopefuls as they fight for the top prize of becoming the new headline act on one of Thomson’s Holidays biggest cruiseliners.
Karl, of Basil Way, Cleadon, said: “The show is going to make for a brilliant watch. I got on with most of the other contestants, but there were some clashes.
“It’s a really big budget show, and the way it’s done is really exciting. It has the qualities of an X Factor-style competition, but also shows such as The Only Way Is Essex, because you really get to know all of the contestants. But it definitely wasn’t all plain sailing. We were split into two teams, and had to come up with our own shows, and perform in front of a panel of judges who decided who to eliminate.
“Every time we docked somewhere, we had to do Challenge Anneka-style events on land. It was hilarious, but really hard work.
“Trust me, there’s a lot of tears and tantrums, and a lot of competition between the contestants, but it was a brilliant laugh.”
Karl, who studied at Newcastle College’s Performance Academy, was chosen from thousands of hopefuls who were whittled down to the final 10 before setting sail around the Caribbean.
As well as singing, dancing and acting, contestants had to join the ship’s crew and get a taste of their full range of duties, from serving in restaurants, to assisting with housekeeping, and looking after their fellow passengers.
Karl, who works as cabin crew for airline Jet2, says that becoming the headline act on a cruise liner would be his dream job.
After being bullied at school, he turned to food for comfort, and at his heaviest tipped the scales at 22 stone.
But he turned his life around to pursue his dreams, and lost an impressive 10 stone before he was accepted to the Newcastle College Performance Academy, where Joe McElderry and Scooch’s David Ducasse also trained.
He said: “It would be a dream come true, and such an adventure. I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but after leaving college it just didn’t really happen and I went into different jobs.
“But now I’m back on track, and doing something like this would just be amazing.”
Showboaters starts on Tuesday, September 13, at 8pm on Sky1 HD.