The Lead

The Lead (Chinese: 第一主角) is a 30 episode Singaporean drama produced and telecast on Mediacorp Channel 8. The show aired at 9pm on weekdays and had a repeat telecast at 8am the following day. The Series is repeated at 5.30pm on Channel 8 on weekdays after Legal Eagles. The show is Channel 8's mid-year blockbuster for 2017 to remember Mediacorp at Caldecott Hill and to celebrate 35 anniversary years of television dramas. It stars Rebecca Lim , Shaun Chen , Andie Chen , Julie Tan , Chen Hanwei , Xiang Yun , Zheng Geping , Terence Cao & Kym Ng as the casts for this series. [1]

The Lead
第一主角
GenreDrama
Media Industry
Romance
Period
Written byPhang Kai Yee 彭凯毅
Lim Gim Lan 林锦兰
Directed byLoo Yin Yam 卢燕金
Oh Liang Cai 胡凉财
Lin Mei Na 林美娜
Wong Foong Hwee 黄芬菲
StarringMain Casts:
Rebecca Lim 林慧玲
Shaun Chen 陈泓宇
Andie Chen 陈邦鋆
Julie Tan 陈欣淇
Supporting Casts:
Chen Hanwei 陈汉玮
Xiang Yun 向云
Zheng Geping 郑各评
Terence Cao 曹国辉
Kym Ng 钟琴
Opening themeInitial Intention (初衷) by Tay Ping Hui
Ending theme1) Talk about Love (谈到爱) by Ling Kai
2) Remember (记得) by JJ Lin
3) Dream Lover (亲密爱人) by 王芳
Country of originSingapore
Original language(s)Mandarin
No. of episodes30
Production
Executive producer(s)Winnie Wong 王尤红
Production location(s) Singapore
Indonesia
Running timeapprox. 45 minutes (excluding advertisements)
Release
Original networkMediacorp Channel 8
Original release22 May 
30 June 2017
Chronology
Preceded byMightiest Mother-in-Law
Followed byHave a Little Faith
Related showsThe Dream Makers (2013)
The Dream Makers II (2015)

Plot

Ah Zhen (Rebecca Lim) has three childhood friends, Guang Hui (Shaun Chen), De Ping (Andie Chen) and An Ya (Julie Tan). Like Ah Zhen, they also love watching drama, and yearned to be seen on the TV screen. The four friends even made a pact together: to make it big in the drama scene, to play the lead character in a drama someday!

After graduating from secondary school, the four friends joined the TV station’s acting classes, and all of them, except Ah Zhen, were selected to join the TV station as actors. Even though she was disappointed, Ah Zhen refused to give up, and began a journey full of hardships in the local drama scene.

Initially Ah Zhen worked alongside her father Xiao Hu (Chen Hanwei), who was a martial art stuntman. Unfortunately she was clumsy and always got injured, so she had to switch to being an extra. But even as an extra, she always somehow got in the way and was disliked and shunned by the production team. But Ah Zhen refused to leave the TV station, and found herself a job in the Costume department.

Childhood friend Guang Hui clinched his first lead role, and An Ya and De Ping had also taken up supporting roles, yet Ah Zhen was still struggling to survive. She switched from department to department: make-up, Props, Radio… trying to find a path for herself, but it seems like she was drifting further from her original dream of becoming an actress. Luckily at that time, she met her savior, the then “Ah-jie” of local drama scene, Chen Xiang Rong (Xiang Yun), a woman whom Ah Zhen saw as her own mother. Under the help of Xiang Rong, Ah Zhen managed to get a small supporting role in her first ever drama debut.

Since then, Ah Zhen began her career as a freelance actor, taking part in a number of classic productions. But Ah Zhen was insistent in her own method of acting, which many others could not agree to. By then, Guang Hui was already a popular rising star, and An Ya was radiant and eye catching after her cosmetic procedure, so the two co-starred in a few dramas, and they became the best on screen couple of their time. Ah Zhen was happy for her friends’ achievements, but she couldn’t help but feel a little heartbroken. Actually, Ah Zhen has always been fond of Guang Hui since her teenage years, but Guang Hui never really noticed her.

At the lowest point in Ah Zhen’s life, and she felt like she was abandoned by the entire world. But with encouragement from her friends, she eventually got up on her feet again. This time, Ah Zhen decided to focus on her job behind the scenes instead!

Working as the assistant producer was the turning point of Ah Zhen’s life. As she had worked in various departments previously, she had contacts everywhere in the production team, making life as an AP easier. She took part in various popular dramas, and with a brush of luck, she always managed to accidentally create epic scenes in the dramas. Eventually, she worked her way up to a director.

As the years go by, many things were no longer what they used to be. The TV station separated into two competing stations, and the friendship between the four broke down. Guang Hui was leading a wasted life, gambling and drinking away, and losing money in unsuccessful investments, eventually leading to a broken family. After separating from Guang Hui, An Ya took to the international screen, but was faced with aftereffects of excessive cosmetic surgery, threatening her acting career. De Ping was involved in a sex scandal and was fired by the TV station, and even ended up in jail for 2 months.

Seeing that their friendship was severely challenged, Ah Zhen, the only one who has not changed, tried very hard to bring the other three back together. After all these ups and downs, will the perseverance of Ah Zhen eventually recover the lost friendship between them?

Ah Zhen has always been secretly loving Guang Hui, but she always misses the opportunity to bring their friendship to another level. How will their relationship end up? An Ya and Guang Hui were the promising couple, but love grew into hate, and they went separate ways, though they never truly forgotten each other. Will they ever reconcile? Ah Zhen and De Ping are friends in times of need, supporting each other faithfully through all these times. Will their relationship eventually bear fruit?

Will this complicated four-sided relationship finally come to a happy ending?

Cast

Main cast

Cast Character Description Episode Appeared
Rebecca Lim
林慧玲
Lin Meizhen
林美真

Ah Zhen (阿真)
Younger version portrayed by Isabel Yamada

  • Wardrobe Assistant and Make-up Department Employee ~> Assistant Producer ~> Director
  • Childhood friend with Xie Guanghui, Hong Deping and Fang Anya
  • Lin Xiaohu and Liu Xinyu's daughter
  • Deng Yongkang's half older sister
  • TV station's substitute
  • Likes Xie Guanghui
  • Fang Anya's rival in love
1, 6, 24, 27-28, 30 (Younger Version)
1- 30
Shaun Chen
陈泓宇
Xie Guanghui
谢光辉
Younger Version Portrayed by Damien Teo
  • Childhood friends with Lin Meizhen, Hong Deping and Fang Anya
  • Lin Bixia's son
  • Fang Yahua's grandson
  • Used to like Fang Anya
  • Used to like Huang Mei Na
  • Likes Lin Meizhen
  • Hong Deping's rival in love
  • Fang Anya's boyfriend (broke up in Episode 14)
  • Huang Mei Na's husband in Episode 18 (Divorced before Episode 25)
  • TV station's actor
1, 6, 11, 16, 24, 26-28, 30 (Younger Version)
1- 30
Andie Chen
陈邦鋆
Hong Deping
洪德平
Younger Version Portrayed by Ivan Lo
  • Childhood friends with Lin Meizhen, Xie Guanghui and Fang Anya
  • Likes Lin Meizhen
  • Xie Guanghui's rival in love
  • TV station's actor
  • Taxi driver
  • Uncle Hong and Auntie Hong's nephew
1, 6, 24, 27-28, 30 (Younger Version)
1-10, 12-30
Julie Tan
陈欣淇
Fang Anya
方安雅
Younger Version Portrayed by Toh Xin Hui
  • Childhood friends with Lin Meizhen, Xie Guanghui and Hong Deping
  • Fang Guodong and Zhao Meili's daughter
  • Likes Xie Guanghui
  • Lin Meizhen's rival in love
  • TV station's actress
1, 6, 24, 27-28, 30 (Younger Version)
17 (voice)
1-7, 9-15, 19-30

Supporting Cast

Cast Character Description Episode Appeared
Xiang Yun
向云
Chen Xiangrong
陈湘蓉
  • Likes Lin Xiaohu
  • Liu Xinyu's rival in love and bestfriend
  • Lin Xiaohu's girlfriend
  • TV station's actress
1-10, 17-25, 30
Chen Hanwei
陈汉玮
Lin Xiaohu
林小虎
  • Liu Xinyu's husband
  • Lin Meizhen's father
  • Used to like Lin Bixia
  • Likes Chen Xiangrong
  • Chen Xiangrong's boyfriend
  • TV station's stuntman, calefare and substitute
1-6, 9-25, 30
Terence Cao
曹国辉
Guo Liwei
郭立威

Main Villain

  • TV station's actor
  • Pretends to like Lin Meizhen to make use of her
  • Befriends Xie Guanghui to exploit him of his money
  • Likes Huang Mei Na and secretly has an affair with her
10-22
Jasmine Sim
沈家玉
Huang Mei Na
黄美娜

Supporting Villain
Na Na (娜娜)

  • TV station's Ah Jie/actress
  • Likes Guo Liwei and secretly has an affair with him
  • Pretends to like Xie Guanghui to exploit him of money
  • Xie Guanghui's Ex-Wife
14-16, 18-22
Cynthia Koh
许美珍
Chen Qiulian
陈秋莲
  • TV station's director ~> Head of Drama producer and director
  • Resigned from TV Station
16, 18-20, 22-23, 25, 27-28
Kym Ng
钟琴
Liu Xinyu
刘心雨
  • Lin Xiaohu's wife
  • Chen Xiangrong's bestfriend and rival in love
  • Lin Meizhen and Deng Yongkang's mother
19-25
Zheng Geping
郑各评
Fang Guodong
方国栋

Uncle Curly Hair (卷毛叔)

  • TV station canteen boss
  • Zhao Meili's husband
  • Fang Anya's father
1-2, 4, 6-7, 9-10, 12-15, 17-21, 26-30
Cassendra See
薛淑珊
Zhao Meili
赵美丽

Auntie Fang (方姨)

  • TV station canteen lady boss
  • Fang Guodong's wife
  • Fang Anya's mother
1, 7, 10, 13-15, 17, 19, 21, 26-30
Jin Yinji
金银姬
Fang Yahua
方亚华

Guanghui's Grandmother (光辉的阿嬷)

  • Xie Guanghui's paternal grandmother
  • Lin Bixia's mother-in-law
  • Died from stroke
  • (Deceased ~ Episode 26)
1-6, 8-12, 14-15, 18, 21-23, 25-26
26-27, 30 (flashback)
He Yingying
何盈莹
Jing Jing
晶晶
Villain but repented
  • TV station's actress/ future Ah Jie
  • Disliked and envied by Fang Anya
19-23, 29-30
Michael Huang 黄仲昆Ma Xinghai
马兴海
  • TV Station's Head of Drama producer and director
  • Retired from the TV Station in Episode 18
1-8, 12, 15-18

TV Station's Celebrities/ Extras

Cast Character Description Episode Appeared
Rebecca Lim
林慧玲
Lin Meizhen
林美真
See Main Cast
Shaun Chen
陈泓宇
Xie Guanghui
谢光辉
See Main Cast
Andie Chen
陈邦鋆
Hong Deping
洪德平
See Main Cast
Julie Tan
陈欣琪
Fang Anya
方安雅
See Main Cast
Chen Hanwei
陈汉玮
Lin Xiaohu
林小虎
See Supporting Cast
Xiang Yun
向云
Chen Xiangrong
陈湘容
See Supporting Cast
Terence Cao
曹国辉
Guo Liwei
郭立威
See Supporting Cast
Jasmine Sim
沈家玉
Huang Meina
黄美娜
See Supporting Cast
He Yingying
何盈莹
Jing Jing
晶晶
See Supporting Cast
Elizabeth Lee
李巧儿
Xue Bing
雪冰
  • TV station's actress
7-9
Li Wenhai
李文海
Zheng Jiang
郑将
  • Hong Kong actor
16-17
Alvin Tho
卓汉隆
  • TV Station's actor
  • TV Station's freelance actress
  • Been raped by Hong Deping that was set up by Guo Liwei
17
Eugene Tay
郑建龙
  • TV Station's freelance actor
5,16
Foo Fangrong
符芳榕
Yao Yao
瑶瑶
  • TV station's actress
19-20

TV Station's Heads

Cast Character Description Episode Appeared
Zheng Geping
郑各评
Fang Guodong
方国栋
See Supporting Cast
Cassendra See
薛淑珊
Zhao Meili
赵美丽
See Supporting Cast
Marcus Mok
莫健发
Adam
  • TV Station's Overall In-Charge
17-18, 25
Michael Huang
黃仲崑
Ma Xinhai
马兴海
See Supporting Cast
Cynthia Koh
许美珍
Chen Qiulian
陈秋莲
See Supporting Cast
Wang Yuqing
王昱清
  • TV Station's Head of drama script/ story writer
1, 28
Michelle Tay
郑荔分
  • TV Station's Head of Wardrobe
8-10
Wallace Ang
洪圣安
Qiang-Ge
强哥
  • TV Station's make up department in-charge
10-11, 16, 18
Uncredited
  • TV Station's stylist
  • Hong Deping's passenger
28
UncreditedMr Soh
  • Head of TV's Station departments
28

TV Station's Instructors Directors/ Reporters/ Producers

Cast Character Description Episode Appeared
Rebecca Lim
林慧玲
Lin Meizhen
林美真
See Main Cast
Guo Liang
郭亮
Li Wei
李伟
  • TV station's acting class instructor
1-2
Louis Wu
伍洛毅
Ken
  • TV Station's director
4-5
Ryan Lian
廖永谊
No Role
  • TV Station's director
7
Tay Ping Hui
郑斌辉
Himself
  • Star Awards' emcee
13-14
Chase Tan
陈锦宏
Chase
  • TV Station's assistant director
  • Lin Meizhen's assistant
18-19, 21-24
Kenneth Chung
钟坤华
No Role
  • TV station's director
19
CKay Lim
林志强
Xu Zhiguang
许志光
  • TV Station's Executive Producer
  • Been resigned from TV Station
19-22, 27-28
Bukoh Mary
巫许玛莉
Mary
  • TV Station's reporter
27
Fraser Tiong
张家奇
No Role
  • TV Station's director

Other/Cameo Casts

Cast Character Description Episode Appeared
Zhu Xiufeng
朱秀凤
Sister E
鹅姐
  • Chen Xiangrong's friend
3-4
Jaslyn Theen
汤妙玲
Lin Bixia
林碧霞

Villain

  • Gambler
  • Xie Guanghui's mother
  • Fang Yahua's daughter-in-law
  • Used to be Lin Xiaohu's love interest
  • Steals away Xie Guanghui valuables but was caught by Lin Xiaohu
10-16
James Hu
胡问遂

Villain

  • Loanshark
  • Lin Bixia's subordinate
12-15
Benjamin Tan
陈俊铭
Eric Hong

Villain

  • Boss of Hollywood Movie Company
  • Cheated Fang Anya all this while because he is unhappy to know that she only have feelings for Xie Guanghui
12-13, 22, 26-28
Charlie Goh
吴清樑
Jack

Villain

  • Loanshark
20-26
Dylan Quek
郭景豪
Jay

Villain

  • Loanshark
20-26
Teo Sili
张思丽
Auntie Hong
洪婶
  • Hong Deping's aunt
22, 27
Hoong Kuo Juey
洪国锐
Uncle Hong
洪叔
  • Hong Deping's uncle
22, 27
Larry Low
刘龙伟
Xiao Ma
小马
  • Film/movie film crew
23
Nick Teo
张鈞淯
Deng Yongkang
邓永康
  • Liu Xinyu's son
  • Lin Meizhen's half younger brother
25
UncreditedMr Li
李先生
  • Been knocked by Hong Deping's car and hospitalized
26-28
UncreditedNo Role
  • Helped Xie Guanghui at a shore and escort him find a place to stay in Tanjungpinang (Indonesia)
27-28
Alston Yeo
杨峻毅
No Role
  • Helped Xie Guanghui at a shore and escort him find a place to stay in Tanjungpinang (Indonesia)
27

Original Sound Track (OST)

No. Song Title Singer(s)
1)初衷
(Main Song for the series)
Tay Ping Hui
2)谈到爱Ling Kai
3)记得JJ Lin 林俊杰
4)亲密爱人王芳

Awards & Nominations

Star Awards 2018

The Lead is up for 5 nominations.

The other drama serials also nominated for Best Theme Song nomination with Dear DJ , Life Less Ordinary , Dream Coder & When Duty Calls.

It won 3 out of 5 nominations. It swept almost all the awards except for Best Director and Best Theme Song.


The Star Awards are presented by Mediacorp.

Star Awards – Performance Awards
AccoladesNomineesCategoryResult
Star Awards 2018 Creative Achievement Award Ceremony 专业奖项颁奖礼Loo Yin Yam
卢燕金
Best Director
最佳导演
Nominated
Star Awards – Acting Awards
AccoladesNomineesCategoryResult
Star Awards 2018 Awards Ceremony 红星大奖2018颁奖礼 Damien Teo
张值豪
Young Talent Award
青苹果奖
Nominated
Isabel Yamada
山田熙
Won
Tay Ping Hui
郑斌辉
Best Theme Song
最佳主题曲 《(初衷)》
Nominated
Chen Hanwei
陈汉玮
Best Supporting Actor
最佳男配角
Won
Rebecca Lim
林慧玲
Best Actress
最佳女主角
Won

Development

  • Filming Starts on November 2016 and wraps in March 2017

See also

References

  1. Seah, May (2 November 2016). "Rebecca Lim to play an actress who can't act". Today.
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