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Biography 
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'9 Dead Gay Guys', the outrageous comedy film by Lab Ky Mo, was released next. Michael Praed portrayed the Queen, found murdered early in the story. He was shown in flashbacks whilst members of the London gay community tried to figure out who did it and what happened to his patron's money.  . Although reportedly shunned at the Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the Dublin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and the Comedia Award at the Montréal Comedy Festival.

Returning to the West End theatre scene in London, Michael was cast in Susan Stroman's Tony Award winning 'Contact' as Michael Wiley, who's bleak life is revived by his fascination with a girl he sees dancing in a bar. He was partnered with Broadway star Leigh Zimmerman. Described as "magically uplifting", 'Contact' had rave reviews.

Left: '9 Dead Gay Guys' as The Queen ©2002 Little Wing Films, Right: 'Contact' as Michael Wiley (at the bar) with Leigh Zimmerman,  ©2003 Photo by Lois Greenfield for Dewynters Ltd

'9 Dead Gay Guys'
as The Queen
©2002 Little Wing Films

 

'Contact'
as Michael Wiley (at the bar)
with Leigh Zimmerman
 ©2003 Photo by Lois Greenfield for Dewynters Ltd

Meanwhile, Michael Praed joined 'The Pirates of Penzance' buddy Sylvester McCoy in 'The Dark Flame', one of the audio adventures of Dr. Who released on CD. He played a heavy, the "deliciously evil" slimy Professor Slyde.

Returning to the stage for another national tour, Michael Praed took the part of the sophisticated, love-smitten Bernard Kessel in Somerset Maugham's 'The Constant Wife'. Once again, Michael enchanted both fans and reviewers, blending debonair elegance with playfulness.

Joining the likes of Sir Ian Holm, Bernard Hill, and Susannah York, Michael Praed narrated the BBC's documentary series 'Timewatch' from 2003 onward. Michael has also done television commercials and radio voiceovers on both sides of the Atlantic.  The most notable is probably 'Dinner Party', an ad sponsored by Kohler Faucets.

Left: 'The Constant Wife' as Bernard Kessel ©2003 John Good Holbook Ltd, Center: 'Three on a Couch' as Dr Theodore Hoffman with Leigh Zimmerman ©2004 King's Head Theatre, Right: 'The Beautiful and Damned' as F. Scott Fiztgerald with Helen Anker ©2004 Photo by Judy Totton

'The Constant Wife'
as Bernard Kessel
©2003 John Good Holbook Ltd

 

'Three on a Couch'
as Dr Theodore Hoffman
with Leigh Zimmerman
 ©2004 King's Head Theatre

 

'The Beautiful and Damned'
as F. Scott Fitzgerald
with Helen Anker
 ©2004 Photo by Judy Totton

Reuniting with 'Contact' co-star Leigh Zimmerman, Michael next played a nervous, stammering shrink caught between patient confidentiality and his attraction to his patient's wife. Carl Djerassi's comedy 'Three on a Couch' played at the King’s Head in London for a limited run. Michael's portrayal "shined". This was succeeded immediately by undertaking the role of the charming F. Scott Fitzgerald in the musical 'The Beautiful and Damned' with another 'Contact' colleague, Helen Anker, as the charismatic, troubled Zelda.

Michael Praed has recorded a number of Caroline Lawrence's well-regarded 'The Roman Mysteries' children's series into audiobook format, including 'The Thieves of Ostia', 'The Secrets of Vesuvius', The Enemies of Jupiter', 'The Gladiators from Capua', and 'The Colossus of Rhodes'.  Michael Praed versions are available only in the UK.

Michael also recorded Stephen Clarke's best-selling 'A Year in the Merde'.  It's a witty examination of the relationship between the French and English, from the boardroom to the bedroom, through the eyes of an Englishman living in Paris.

'In the Deepwoods', the initial installment of Paul Stewart's The Edge Chronicles for children was recorded by Michael Praed and released in September of 2005. It is the story of Twig, a youngster who leaves home to find his place in the world.  Later in the same month, Michael guest-starred on two long-running series 'The Bill' and 'Doctors'.

'The Bill' as Rick with Julianne White and John Bowler © 2005 FremantleMedia

'The Bill'
as Rick with Julianne White and John Bowler
© 2005 FremantleMedia

For October 2005, Michael returned to the stage to portray author Paul Sheldon in Stephen King's psychological thriller "Misery".  The Simon Moore adaptation was presented at the intimate King's Head Theatre in London and co-starred Susan Penhaligon as deranged fan Annie Wilkes.

The year 2006 saw Michael Praed chosen as one of two narrators for Harlequin Mills & Boon romance novels.  Subsequent to an arrangement between the two companies, Michael's four narrations were to be aired in half-hour installments on 'Mills & Boon at the Weekend' via Oneword, the digital satellite radio component of Channel 4 Radio, starting in late July.

In the summer of 2006, Michael Praed joined 'Robin of Sherwood' mate Clive Mantle, Edward Hardwicke and Joe Shaw in the UK tour of Brian Stewart's black comedy 'Killing Castro'. Outwardly suave and down-to-earth, Praed's performance of the harebrained special ops CIA agent Tom Madison won rave reviews. Fall again found him busy, this time in Derek Lister's critically acclaimed 'Blue on Blue', an intense drama focusing on embedded journalists in the Iraqi war zone.

In March of 2007, the actors' union Equity and B7 Media announced that they had reached a landmark agreement, setting performance rights and payment schedules for Equity members participating in internet podcasts. Michael Praed was a cast member of the Blake's 7 audio adventure 'Rebel' and was a part of the historic arrangement.

More narrations followed as Michael narrated the BBC's 'The Wild West', a series focusing on critical figures of the American frontier.  In addition, he narrated 'The Extraordinary Mr Spitfire' later in the year for ITV and The History Channel.  The documentary followed the life of pilot Alex Henshaw.

In the spring, a plethora of 'Robin of Sherwood' DVD releases in various countries (North America, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands) saw renewed interest in the 25 year-old series. 

Next came an acting foray in a docudrama co-produced by the UK's Channel Four International, Germany's Zusammenarbeit (ZDT) and the USA's Smithsonian Museum. The program used archived film footage and photographs, interviews with survivors, and hearing testimony to gather information.  Reenactments and CGI were interspersed with archival material to illustrate the controversy surrounding the zeppelin's fiery end. Michael Praed portrayed survivor Nelson Morris. 

On the stage, 2008 featured a highly acclaimed six-month national tour of Anthony Schaffer's 'Sleuth' in the role of Milo Tindle with Simon MacCorkindale as Andrew Wyke.  The later half of the year saw more good reviews for Michael as Sir Robert Chiltern in Oscar Wilde's 'An Ideal Husband', which studies the concepts of private and public honor.

Completing more than 55 documentaries and returning for the sixth straight year, Michael Praed was again a BBC 'Timewatch' narrator in 2009, the longest running history show in the UK.  In midsummer, Michael added to his reading credits, joining fellow readers Clare Wille and Alison Dowling to bring Rose Tremain's Whitbread/Costa Award winning novel 'Music and Silence' to life in a stirring audiobook.

After premièring James Farwell's quirky comedy 'The Murder Game' at the King's Head Theatre in March 2009, Michael Praed joined the UK tour of David Ian and The Really Useful Group’s smash hit production of Rodgers and Hammerstein musical 'The Sound of Music' as Captain von Trapp opposite Connie Fisher as Maria.  The first show with Michael listed as the headliner in ‘The Sound of Music’ caused such a rush on tickets that both the theatre’s telephone lines jammed and ticket system crashed.

Michael Praed is an accomplished actor with a wide range of successful projects to his credit.  Michael has garnered both critical and popular acclaim with fans all around the world.  There will be more in his future.  Keep watching!

~~~

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