Ben Bowman is a life long fan of Michael Jackson and the first time he attempted to copy the moonwalk he was behind the counter at a local supermarket.

Today the singer's theatre show, Jackson Live In Concert, is in its eighth successful year of touring, and will be stopping off in Swindon on Thursday, October 12.

Ben says that he has had a life long obsession with the super star, even asking for an MJ-themed birthday party when he was just seven-years-old.

But it was seeing the great man live that clinched the deal for Ben.

"I had grown up on my mum's records: Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, and I went to see him live on the Dangerous Tour. It made him real, rather than just someone on the telly,'' said Ben.

While at school taking his GCSEs his friend Bethany asked Ben to sing something for her, so he sang a line from Rock My World and she was so impressed by his impression of Michael Jackson that the idea took route. He began mimicking MJ at talent shows and karaoke, constantly learning the intonation of his voice and the magic moves, until he began winning gigs in pubs and clubs.

"I am self taught to a degree. I worked on the night shift at the supermarket so there weren't many people about and I would do the moonwalk behind the counter. The day shift would come on and watch my dancing back on the CCTV,'' said Ben.

The idea for the theatre show was to step up from his MJ impersonator act into a full blown spectacular. He met the show's producer, James Butler, in a pub and they chatted through his vision.

"James had big plans and then we auditioned Luke Capon as bass guitar player for our live band. He was hugely interested and revamped the ideas, he really is a creative genius and is now our musical director,'' said Ben.

The show snowballed, reaching an all time high when Michael Jackson was on trial and sadly when he died, but lately the cast has been in demand to perform at summer festivals including Glastonbudget and in Belgium with Boney M and Tony Christie.

"It's an amazing atmosphere, my favourite thing to do. We played in front of 30,000 in Holland, it's inspiring,'' said Ben, who grew up near Gravesend.

But performing the energetic moves of MJ can be tricky, particularly when performing on a dark stage, as Ben discovered.

"I was on stage at a holiday camp and it was very black and the choreography called for sharp turns and a spin. All dancers focus on something during a spin so they can orientate themselves quickly, but this time I stopped the wrong way round, turned and walked straight off stage and fell flat on my face.''

The singer has also dreamt of becoming an author but at the moment says he is too busy to write but he would love to move up a gear with Jackson Live and perform an arena tour.

Ben, his band and dancers will be bringing the King of Pop to life at the Wyvern Theatre from 7.30pm and tickets are £26 from 01793 524481 or visit - Flicky Harrison.