Five minutes with… Ann Widdecombe

Published: Friday 9th December 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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Ann Widdecombe was the MP for Maidstone from 1987 to 1997, followed by MP for Maidstone and The Weald from 1997 to 2010. During this time, she also served as Shadow Secretary for State and Health from 1998-99 and Shadow Home Secretary from 1999-2001.

In 2010, Ann retired from politics, which paved the way to her becoming a familiar face on stage and screen. Following her appearance on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, she performed in pantomimes at The Orchard Theatre in Dartford and The Swan Theatre in High Wycombe.

She has also presented and appeared in Songs of Praise, Children in Need, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, 24 Hours in the Past and Tipping Point: Lucky Stars.

On top of this, Ann writes a weekly column for the Daily Express and is an accomplished novelist and writer of nonfiction.

We caught up with the former politician and panto fan to find out about her role in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Bridlington Spa.

We all love a bit of panto at Christmas. What can audience members expect from this particular show?

It’s a great experience for all the family. I’m playing the baddy for the first time, instead of a sugary sweet goody. It’s fun being the villain because everybody boos and really engages with your character.

There’s lots of dancing, plenty of comedy, and people will very much enjoy themselves.

What excites you most about your role?

I’m the baddy at long last! I’ve been wanting to play one for ages, and what could be better than being the Wicked Queen?

I’m really looking forward to the audience’s reaction, I’m sure there will be plenty of participation.

Are you dancing again, following your appearance on Strictly?

This is the first one where I don’t have to, which is quite a relief. There’s plenty of dancing in the show though, so the audience is in for a treat.

With Simon Grant, Joe Standerline and Asa Elliot also in the cast, we imagine it’s going to be an energetic show?

It’s going to be very energetic indeed. It’s a wonderful, lovely cast and we’re all having great fun working together.

What else can you tell us about the show?

It wouldn’t be a panto without lashings of colour, vibrant sets and a variety of characters. I love my costume; I can’t wait to wear it each night.

Are you staying in Bridlington during the run?

I certainly am. I’m in self-catering accommodation just a stone’s throw from Bridlington Spa, so I have no excuse for turning up late to rehearsals.

I’ve been to Bridlington before. In fact I had an event at Bridlington Spa back in 2012, speaking about my life and career.

What else do you think you’ll get up to whilst in Bridlington?

I’ll be spending most of my time in the theatre, but I want to get to know the town better too. I’ll also be taking part in the Midnight Mass at the Catholic church whilst here.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs at Bridlington Spa from 13 December until 2 January. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office on 01262 678258, or you can book online.

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Published: Friday 9th December 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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