The Early Bird Catches the Blog

So as you know, I have been (and will continue to be!) completely wrapped up in the crazy world of Monty Python and the upcoming reunion show. However, I can’t only write about that for the next few months, so it’s just as well I’ve been out and about doing lots of exciting things I can share with you…

I’ll start with my day of filming the ever challenging Countdown. I had so much fun the last time I was there, so I was thrilled when they invited me back to Dictionary Corner to challenge myself once again. It really is a mind blowing workout trying to solve all the word puzzles, and the number puzzles – forget about it! It was also lovely to catch up with all the gang there, and catch up on the latest goings on at the BBC in Salford. I have though to say what a ridiculously long day it was – starting with leaving the house at 7am to get the train to Manchester, arriving straight into hair and makeup, filming all the episodes, then jumping in a car home after and arriving back at 1am! All in a days work…


The next morning I had to be up super early as well for a long day of Python auditions, followed that evening by the opening of Urinetown. I went with my partner, who isn’t usually the first to volunteer to be my date to the theatre, but I can safely say he was very glad he did! It’s a fantastic production, and even I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, not being the biggest fan of the production I saw on Broadway. Everything about it came together beautifully, and I would most definitely recommend it as the hot ticket this month. It was also wonderful to bump into musical theatre to Hollywood superstars Luke Evans and Samantha Barks. Luke who I watched many a time in the West End is now on of Hollywoods hottest action heroes and it great to hear all about his life in the fast lane! And Samantha, well what can I say, only that the shy girl I saw as on the BBC’s search for Nancy is now an absolute goddess, and I wish her all the best of luck.




Another fabulous event I made it to was Pineapple Dance Studios 35th Birthday. I can’t believe it has been that long since my darling Debbie Moore literally saved our dance community after the Dance Centre on Floral Street was closed down, by finding an old pineapple warehouse and converting it into what is the now the most popular studios in London. I gave a little speech that had everyone in stitches with my impression of Debbie, and it was just wonderful to celebrate what she has achieved for the world of dance. Congratulations, and Happy Birthday Pineapple! The wonderful night was only marred by my Abi’s cat Romeo disappearing for several hours and causing us all to go into panic mode that Abi would arrive home to some sort of terrible news. He did finally turn up at the 11th hour, when hope was almost lost, to an abundance of cuddles and treats, and one very relieved family.


On the final day of Python auditions I somehow managed to come down with an evil cold that totally knocked me out for the weekend. It was out of nowhere, I just woke up feeling utterly dreadful and have continued to do so through much of this week as well! I did managed to perk myself up enough to head down the road to the cinema in Belsize Park to see Grand Hotel Budapest, which was utterly beautiful. The vat of ice cream I made my way through also did wonders for my throat (any excuse!)

There’s also been a couple of events I have attended over the past couple of weeks that have somehow managed to escape my previous blogs! I had a truly fantastic and genuinely moving night at the Orpheus trust, judging their “Strictly” competition. I can’t tell you how wonderful the work they do there is, and it’s nothing short of inspiring seeing the happiness and joy that Orpehus brings to so many with so much hardship in their life. It’s been wonderful as well seeing the centre develop over the years, founded by the incredible Richard Stilgoe, who I first worked with on Starlight back in 1984! Congratulations Richard on such an incredible achievement making the Orpheus Centre what it is today.



Another night of inspiring dance was my night out at the Zouk festival with the fabulous Pamela Stephenson. When I tell you that we danced the night away, I mean we DANCED the night away! Couples had come from all over the world to take part in this three day Brazilian dance festival all about Lambazouk, the style of dance that has inspired Pamela and I to develop the most phenomenal (if I do say so myself!) show. Hopefully debuting later this year, I can’t wait to share with you the movement and culture that both of us have fallen hook line and sinker in love with.




One other thing totally missed last week as my head has clearly been in Python Land are the pictures from my delicious tea last week at Fortnum and Mason! So here you are…


So along with Python meetings, meetings, auditions and more meetings, that’s all there is for now, but make sure you check in next week to hear about the opening night I’ll be attending of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Prince of the Pagodas (and of course more meetings about Pythons…)

Much love

Arlene x

P.S. You can still bid here for my fantastic prize in the Dance UK Charity auction… x

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