HE’S throwing on his glad rags to whisk Swindon back to the era of flares, platforms and afros – but it won’t be the first time Gareth Gates has got his groove on in the town.

The former Pop Idol star is taking the headline role as heartthrob Dean in Boogie Nights, a 70s musical mash-up which is hitting the Wyvern in April.

Gareth, 28, revealed he has hit the tiles in Swindon off-stage after a speech therapy programme – and the night was so good he can’t remember what happened.

The show’s cast, including Chico, Andy Abraham, Shane Richie Junior and Louisa Lytton, have hit it off, and were still recovering from post-show drinks in Brighton yesterday.

“The show’s just lots of fun and showcases the biggest hits of the 70s,” Gareth said.

“To be on stage every night singing the songs and having the responses we’ve been having has just been fantastic, I’ve been in theatre quite a while and it’s what I’m loving at the minute.

“It’s live and the audience reaction is great. When you’re working in the studio it’s great being creative, but you don’t always get that immediate response. Seeing that every day is fantastic.”

Gareth says he knows Swindon “ish” – including nights out which have become a blur.

“I’ve been part of a speech therapy programme called the McGuire programme which holds courses in Swindon,” he said.

“I’ve been out here a few times before. We all get together as stammerers and practise speaking under the influence. I can’t remember what happened – but I’m sure it was fun.”

Chico, who plays geeky Terry, was also looking forward to taking Swindon back to the era of the Bee Gees.

“I can’t wait to get started,” he said.

“The Wyvern looks like a fabulous place. This is the only place we will spend the whole week. This is a one-week stop shop, so we are going to get to sample the Swindon life.”

The former Dancing on Ice star, 41, believes Simon Cowell would dig the pop throwback – even if today’s reality TV stars are opting to more urban street cred.

He said: “Simon would love it. It’s jam-packed with amazing, classic songs and the thing about Simon is he knows a good song when he hears one. It is his era too – his teenage years. I’m sure he had his long hair and his platform shoes and he was giving all that.”

Chico also had time to air his trademark catchphrase when asked about his hectic schedule of touring and fundraising for charities.

“The most precious commodity is time... and it’s always Chico time,” he said.

Boogie Nights runs from April 15 to 20 at the Wyvern.Visit wyverntheatre.

org.uk or call 01793 524 481.