HE’S the former Hampshire schoolboy who has always destined to be a star of the stage.

Decades before he took up his latest role as Zazu in Disney’s award-winning hit The Lion King, Gary Jordan was flooding his neighbourhood with the sounds of the shows.

The 42-year-old, who lived in Lymington until the age of five when his family moved to Havant, said: “I’d gather all my friends and neighbours and all the children would put on a show in one of the back gardens!

“My parents had an old gramophone and I used to make them play it while me and my friends danced around! That was my childhood and it definitely had a big impact on me.

“In my first nativity in Lymington, I played the shepherd and my parents claim I was giving dirty looks to the guy playing Joseph because I wanted the lead!”

From t hose humble beginnings, Gary went on to star in the lead role in Oliver for Dynamo Youth Theatre.

He has since starred in professional productions of Avenue Q, Grease and Anyone Can Whistle and is a highly regarded pianist and musical director.

These days, Gary can be seen treading the boards at London’s Lyceum Theatre as the much-loved red-billed hornbill, who acts as advisor to the King and was voiced by Rowan Atkinson in the celebrated 1994 film.

“It’s m y 20th year in the business and I’m in the biggest selling show in the West End! To be in my 40s and land such a gigantic worldwide show and work for a company like Disney, I can’t believe my luck.

“I’m absolutely loving it, every single second.You have to come up with two performances, for the bird and the actor, and make them look like one. It’s mind-blowing.

“This is a dream come true for me and I never ever thought that this would ever happen to me. Lion King is so special, you’ve never ever seen anything like it. I love running down through the audience at the start and seeing 2000 faces looking at you in absolute awe.

The Lion King, continues to be one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. A total of 24 global productions have been seen by more than 90 million people and it is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running ten or more years.