It’s almost time. Oh no it isn’t. Oh yes it is! Of course I am talking about Panto season, probably my favourite time of the year. The panto at the Wolverhampton Grand is always pretty special, a real family crowd pleaser. This year it is the perrenial favourite Sleeping Beauty, and a couple of weeks ago I got to chat to the stars of the show.
I will be bringing you those interviews over the next couple of weeks before the show opens, and today I am starting with a chat with ‘the lovely Debbie McGee’ who is playing Fairy Crystal.
Fashion-Mommy:Tell me a bit about your character in Sleeping Beauty.
Debbie: I play Fairy Crystal who is very important in order to keep the story flowing, and also to keep the children in the audience happy when the story turns a little scary. I’m a bit like a Disney fairy, very giggly, and I get to wore a beautiful crystal dress.
FM: Have you been to the Grand before?
DM: I was first here in 1985 with the Paul Daniels magic show. I wasn’t married to Paul then, it was maybe our first or second tour, so I have really fond memories of the theatre, and remembered it being so beautiful. It still is, although very different.
FM: How do you feel about being a trailblazer for the older woman, particularly thinking about Strictly Come Dancing?
DM: The whole Strictly experience was just so wonderful, but it has been even better to be inspiring to other people. Even a year on everyone is still talking about it, women of all ages tell me how it has inspired them to join a gym or take up dancing, I think this is just fab. My favourite moment was the Argentine Tango. I loved every week on Strictly but that dance was so special.
FM: Have you kept in touch with Giovanni (Pernice – Debbie’s partner in the show)? Have you been watching this year’s show?
DM: Yes, I sent a message to Giovanni just this morning as I went past a studio where we did a lot of rehearsing. I have been dancing with Giovanni throughout the year in fact. I have also been doing a podcast for the Telegraph, but I don’t have any tips on who I think might win this year, I’m just enjoying watching this year avidly.
FM: You also have your own radio show, can you tell me a little bit about this?
DM: Yes, I have a show every Sunday. It started 10 years ago and is a mixture of chat and giggles with lots of showbiz type guests. I just have fun, people say it starts off their Sunday, which is nice.
FM:When Paul first called you ‘the lovely Debbie McGee’ did you think it would become so iconic?
DM: The first time Paul used it was on the BBC and he was so clever, he knew exactly what he was doing in creating a trademark, a brand, but I never realised it would become so famous.
FM: You were the first woman to win the Maskelynne Award from the Magic Circle. How did you feel about that?
DM: It was a very emotional time. I’d just started dancing on Strictly, and it was one of those times when I really wished Paul was around to see what was happening. It has only been given out eight times, so I was honoured and proud.
FM: You’ve appeared in a lot of panto’s, do you have a favourite?
DM: Not a favourite exactly, because I just absolutely love panto in general. I love being in panto at Christmas, watching families out with their kids, all out together and having such a good time.
FM: Is there anything left that you would still like to do in showbiz?
DM: Loads of things! I don’t plan anything, but I would love to be in a musical. I’d also love to do a chat show, think there could be a gap for a different kind of show. I feel that I am easy to talk to, and I love to chat to people so I think it would be a really positive, upbeat kind of show.
Saturday 8 December 2018 – Sunday 13 January 2019
Tickets from £16.50*
*A £3 booking fee applies to all purchases.
Tickets for SLEEPING BEAUTY are now on sale. Tickets can be booked in person at the theatre, by calling 01902 42 92 12 or online at grandtheatre.co.uk.