Well I said this week was going to be a busy one, and truly what a week it has been!
Saturday I packed my bags and boarded the train to rainy Bradford ready for the next few days filming around the country. I was all set for an early night as I had a 6am start the next morning, but by a wonderful coincidence Starlight Express was in town and so I couldn’t not head down to the show to watch their last night in Bradford! The show is just phenomenal (if I do say so myself!) so make sure you check out the next nearest venue to you and get down there, and like the Bradford audience, cheer a shout throughout the show. Click here for info on dates.
Sunday morning, there I was at 6am with Alana downing coffee as she carefully worked around the cup to get me looking camera ready for the days filming. What was I getting ready for I hear you ask? I was embarking on the Antiques Road Trip, two days of scouring the country for precious antiques to then take to auction and try and make a profit, with all proceeds going to charity. The catch? I had to beat my adversary, the one and only Anton Du Beke. We were both assigned an expert in antiques, mine being the charming James Braxton who was to accompany me as we drove from store to store in a vintage Citroen 2CV. I think this would have been slightly more charming had we not driven pretty much the width of the country from Bradford, to Blackpool, and then to Liverpool with several smaller towns in between! One of the places we made a stop at was the beautiful Hebden Bridge, which I saw in the papers yesterday had been completely flooded not long after we left! The beautiful river had completely overflown, and it was sad to see the devastation.
It was such great fun being back with Anton, every time we crossed paths at one stop or another he would sweep me up into ballroom hold and waltz me across the floor singing as we went. Always immaculately dressed and charming as they come, he really is one of a kind.
One of my favourite parts of the trip was visiting the Blackpool Tower. Now as I’m sure you all know I’m no stranger to this place, but for a very different reason than you may think. It was my childhood holiday destination for many a year, and holds so many memories for me. I won’t tell you too much now as you’ll have to wait to see the show to hear all my stories, but even the memories of taking Alana there when she was a child are still so strong, and it was such an experience this time being back to relive them. We went all the way up to the top where there is now a glass wall and floor, not for the faint hearted I can tell you! It was a beautiful clear and sunny day, and we saw all the way across to Southport, another childhood destination of mine. We took in the new 4D Tower experience which was just amazing, and most excitingly I got to have a go on the famous Wurlitzer organ in the Ballroom, something I had longed to do since I was a child.
Blackpool at sunset.
Any guesses where I am?
Obviously I don’t want to give too much away, so make sure you look out for the show where you’ll also see my visit to the spooky area of Pendle, my haggling with dealers at a charming village fete and of course the hilarious final day at the auction house where you’ll find out who won the challenge…
Tuesday night I was finally back in my bed and utterly exhausted, closing my eyes and dreaming peaceful thoughts as I knew the rest of the week wasn’t much quieter…
Wednesday morning I was back with the cast of Grease and my new ‘bff’ Russell Grant, who is going to be appearing as the Teen Angel in the upcoming UK tour. I’m creating for the first time ever a dance break for him and all his angels. It’s going to be spectacular so make sure you click here to find out where you can see him.
After rehearsals I made my way to a lunch meeting with Simon Nye, the original creator of Men Behaving Badly, and someone who I have wanted to work with for a long time. As is so often the case, I’m afraid I can’t tell you what about yet, but as always promised I will reveal when I can…
That evening I attended my dear friend ‘Queen of Gossip’, Dean Piper’s 3rd year Sunday Mirror party at the exclusive Wellington Club in Knightsbridge. It was a fantastic evening, with all proceeds from entry donated to Macmillan Cancer Charity. There were performances from newcomer Karima Francis, and X Factor winner Matt Cardle, as well as delicious food and plenty of (non alcoholic for me!) drink. Other guests included Louie Spence who as always I had a right old gossip with, and Lisa Stansfield whom I haven’t seen for almost thirty years since we met on the same television rounds when I was there with Hot Gossip! She looks so incredible, I wonder what her secret is? I had a hilarious chat with the beautiful Ollie Locke from Made in Chelsea, and of course there were many other good friends I got to hang out with as well, including two of my favourite other showbiz journos Sam Dowler and Natalie Edwards. As well you know, I’m not really a party animal when its up early for work the next day.
The brilliant Ollie Locke and I.
The one and only Louie Spence.
The party in full swing.
Friday was an early morning meeting chez Lord Lloyd Webber in Belgravia with Andrew and the original creative team for the Wizard of Oz, to discuss the upcoming Canadian production this fall. So many exciting changes and new ideas, now how can I convince you all to fly over to Canada…
After the meeting I made my way to a lunch in Knightsbridge at the delicious Bar Boulud, where I bumped into the exquisitely beautiful Kelly Brook. After a brief chat, I hit the sale at Harvey Nichols one last time to choose some outfits for a TV series I’m going to be involved in this Autumn… It really is the sale to beat all others, and of course more about the show will be revealed soon…
The absolutely gorgeous Kelly Brook and I.
That evening I went to the opening of Micheal Strassen’ s new production of The Fix at the Union Theatre in Southwark. It really is a must must see, so get down there while you can
The weekend was a blur of eating, sleeping, socialising with close friends and family, and generally recharging my batteries ready for another crazy week ahead…
So until next time