By Edwina Currie
I’m a lucky girl; I’m the first to admit it. Great opportunities have come my way, I’ve grabbed them with both hands and given them some welly. For 40 years I’ve earned my living doing exactly the what I wanted to do, whether for Parliament, writing books or the BBC, delighted and astonished to find that someone would pay me to do it.
You have to say “Yes” to these chances. The moment you start to refuse, the offers dry up; and asyou get older, you begin on that long downhill path. I’m not ready for that yet. So on Monday, a day of glorious sunshine, off I went to Bournemouth (by Flybe from Manchester, 65mins, since you ask) for a nostalgic programme about childhood holidays, with Len Goodman. “My Holiday of a Lifetime” will air on daytime BBC TV later in the year. He drove up in a vintage Vauxhall, just like my dad’s. We pottered about in a boat, ate ice-creams and played with donkeys on the sands. Brilliant. But whether I’m ready to play the Wicked Queen in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in panto is another question. Oh yes, you did read that right. Oh, yes you did! In Northwich, near Chester. Twice daily in December, finishing January 2nd. No performances Christmas Day.
The family thinks this is hilarious. It makes a change from the jungle, anyway. Granddaughter aged nine is thrilled; she always knew I was a bit of a magic-wand-waver. Grandsons are threatening to come across from France for it – though what they’ll make of a classic British panto, heaven knows. The contract signed, I’m now terrified.
Will I be able to learn my lines? If not, will it matter, or can I make it up as we go along? How will my back/knee/ankle cope? Will I have to dance (I’m terrible, you all know that, you watched Strictly Come Dancing)? Anton Benson the producer wants to know if I can sing. Not for me to judge, perhaps. I’ve suggested having a go at the Queen hit Fat-Bottomed Girls, but that may not be suitable for a young audience. If he wants Defying Gravity from Wicked, Lord help us: I may regret taking this on. As may the audience. Some schools performances are already sold out, but you can get tickets for the rest. The website www.ticketsource.co.uk/northwichpanto will take you there. Let’s hope it’ll be a transport 0f delight, wholesome entertainment, for your ineluctable enjoyment! Or maybe, just wish me luck.