Full steam ahead

So, after the fantastic and rather late night press night for Midnight Tango, you’d think Wednesday would be a well deserved lie in for me… But of course no such luck! There was so much catching up to do with Coco in the office that I pretty much stayed in one position at my desk for the entire day. As well as replying to 500 or thereabouts emails, I had lots of lines to learn for my upcoming appearance on The Magicians. I wanted our tricks to be the best, otherwise this would mean my partner Pete Firman and I would have to do the mystery forfeit, which as I have seen so far look terrifying!

Thursday was my first rehearsal day in the studio with Pete Firman for The Magicians, who I was thrilled to be partnering as I think he’s just brilliant. We’d already made a donkey disappear in Weymouth, and now this week on the live show Pete was going to make me disappear! Along with a sneaky and brilliant card trick, we were hoping our performance would be the best and win over the audience, as we had tough competition in the other magicians Latimer, and Barry and Stuart. The day was long, productive and cold! The show is recorded at Shepperton Studios, so it was a hell of a speedy drive back into London to get changed and out of the door to the 50th Birthday party of the Sunday Times Magazine. The party was held at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, and it was a stunning exhibition of all the various iconic magazine covers over the years. Canapes, cocktails and several celebrity guests were milling around, and I had a lovely catch up with the original PR guru herself Lynne Franks. I have to admit, in my usual style, I didn’t stay long and it was home to hot soup and bed all before 9:30, as it was up and off to another long rehearsal day at Shepperton again in the morning.

Friday was a blur of magicians disappearing and reappearing, and then before I knew it, it was Saturday and nearly time for the live show! I was so nervous, and having the producers tell me that this week’s forfeit was the most dangerous yet was really starting to get to me. As I was pacing the corridoor outside my dressing room to try and calm my nerves, who should I bump into but original Starlight Express cast member, old friend and now TV star best know for the role of ‘The Cat’ in Red Dwarf… Danny John Jules! He came bounding over – in full ‘Cat’ costume I might add – and gave me the biggest hug, Chatting away about old times put me right at ease, and before I knew it I was being whisked off to start. The show began with a reveal of the upcoming forfeit… An arrow being shot through an apple, balancing on our head! Thank goodness I had the ever calming Alana with me as the nerves came back in full flow once I’d seen that, and could hardly remember my name let alone my lines! As luck would have it all our tricks went according to plan, although this still wasn’t enough for us to win, and so 50 minutes later there I was, apple on head trying not to shake with fear! I couldn’t believe it was going to be me! Of course I kept telling myself that there was no way that the very strange man pointing an arrow at me who was also spinning on a revolve beside me was going to miss… Although this wasn’t enough to comfort Phil Tuffnel, who after seeing the stunt revealed said “Arlene, I’ not too sure about this…” In a matter of seconds it was all over, the audience were cheering, and I was holding half an apple, with tears of relief running down my face. Looking back what an amazing experience, but I wouldn’t like to do it again!! Until the next tim eof course… If you missed it you can watch the show here http://bbc.in/wdtPCl
A hair raising drive home through thick and ever falling snow was enough to put me straight to sleep, and sleep I did for most of Sunday as well! (Aside from my usual Sunday activitiy of trying to avoid the roast potatoes, and failing…) I did manage to make my way through the snow that afternoon to the farewell performance of Michael Crawford, Danielle Hope and some other cast members at The Wizard of Oz, and what an emotional show it was.

Monday morning I was back in gear, and starting the day with a round of interviews about Russell Grant and his transformation to the Wizard, and the it was over to ITV for a chat on the sofa with the lovely Alan Titchmarsh. I was talking about my new lingerie line with Marisota http://bit.ly/xED91u , and the upcoming Starlight Express tour that I have finally finished casting, so it’s full steam ahead!

Tuesday I spent in the theatre with Russell, preparing for his opening night that evening, which I am thrilled to say went off without a hitch, so congratulations Russell, and here’s to a fabulous run, although I’m sure you could have predicted that…

Till next time
Love Arlene x

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