THE ETERNALLY YOUTHFUL CHESNEY HAWKES JOINED ANDREA, COLEEN, JANET AND NADIA TO TALK ABOUT HIS RETURN TO PANTO AND WHY HE DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS ‘FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS’ WITH HIS INFAMOUS SONG 'THE ONE AND ONLY'.
If past experiences are anything to go by, when Chesney returns to panto-land this year to play Prince Benedict in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Worthing Theatre, he had better hope his family aren’t in the audience. Recalling his debut panto appearance years ago he told us, ‘The first panto I ever did was with Darren Day and John Bishop. I was Dick Whittington. I was doing this love scene with my leading lady, right at the front of the stage. It was a very quiet moment. My whole gang - they were little then - were in the fourth row. My daughter was probably four. I heard this, “Daddy?”'
Chesney tried to ignore it and continue with the show but then he heard her voice again. 'I turned around and said, “Yes, darling”. She said, “I’ve got an ice cream.”' Needless to say it got the biggest applause of the night.
BEVERLEY KNIGHT IS BACK AT HER BEST AND MAKING MUSIC AFTER HER HYSTERECTOMY EARLIER THIS YEAR.
She joined Andrea, Coleen, Janet and Nadia to explain how her new all-female supergroup has helped to restore her strength.
‘A hysterectomy changes everything... permanently. I did feel as though my superpowers were draining,” Beverley said of her major surgery in May following a diagnosis of uterine fibroids (muscular tumours that grow on the womb). However, having joined forces with fellow West End powerhouses Amber Riley, from shows such as Glee and Dreamgirls, and Cassidy Janson, or CJ, from Beautiful, she said her strength has been restored. ‘I’m glad, because getting Amber and CJ next to me and us creating a supernova - a female supernova - together has restored that strength.
Collectively, Beverley, Amber and Cassidy are known as Leading Ladies - three leading ladies of the stage coming together, as the name suggests. Their album, Songs from the Stage, comprises songs from musical theatre and Broadway, as well as West End classics. ‘Some songs are ones we have sung ourselves and others are ones we love,’ said Beverley.
THEIR CRIMES SHOOK THE NATION. THE MURDERS OF FIVE INNOCENT CHILDREN AT THE HANDS OF IAN BRADY AND HIS LOVER MYRA HINDLEY, WHO BECAME KNOWN AS THE NOTORIOUS MOORS MURDERERS.
Chillingly, that number could have been six, after Tommy Rhattigan was lured to their house as a vulnerable seven-year-old boy, on the promise of bread and jam. Incredibly, he managed to escape Brady and Hindley’s evil clutches on that cold November night, and he joined Coleen, Denise, Saira and Jane to share his dramatic story of escape.
Tommy recalled arriving at their house of horrors. ‘The very first thing [Hindley] did when she brought the slice of bread and jam out... It was the way she put it onto the table. It wasn’t placed on the table. It was dropped. The first thought when I looked at the bread and jam was - I know this sounds really strange - there was no margarine on it.’ Tommy quickly noticed a change in [Hindley’s] behaviour too, from the woman with the ‘perfume’ and ‘kind eyes’ he’d met in the park, to someone he knew he wanted to get away from. ‘I looked up at her and noticed that there was a complete change in her altogether.’
70 YEARS AGO, THE NATION CAME OUT IN FORCE TO CELEBRATE THE MARRIAGE OF THEN-PRINCESS ELIZABETH TO PHILIP MOUNTBATTEN.
Seven decades on, the couple are still going strong. To mark their impressive milestone anniversary, Coleen, Denise, Saira and Jane were joined by royal biographer Ingrid Seward, who gave a unique insight into life behind palace doors.
Talking about the secret to the royals’ long and happy marriage, Ingrid, who's been in the industry for 34 years, said, ‘I think the secret is they laugh together. We all know that life is very, very difficult. I think the Queen is [the comedian]. She's a wonderful mimic, absolutely brilliant mimic.’ Accents seems to be her forte, as Ingrid revealed, ‘She can do Liverpool, she can do Liverpool really well, she does Irish. She can do all kinds of accents. She's very good at American as well.'
BETHANY HAINES JOINED US TO REMEMBER HER FATHER, DAVID, WHO WAS ABDUCTED AND MURDERED BY ISIS IN MARCH 2013 BEFORE HIS EXECUTION VIDEO WAS RELEASED TO THE WORLD 18 MONTHS LATER
Bethany joined Andrea, Denise, Linda and Kaye to talk about her dad, David, a humanitarian aid worker, who was abducted by Islamic State terrorists while working in Syria. His family desperately pleaded for his safe release but 18 months, later David was brutally executed by a man named Mohammed Emwazi, the notorious ‘Jihadi John’.
Talking about the last time she saw her dad, Bethany explained, 'It was probably in 2014, he was back from working in South Sudan and looking for another job. We’d always spend the week together and do what normal father and daughters do - walks on the beach and movie nights with ice cream and chocolate.
'He was the centre of attention, she added. 'If you were feeling down, he’d make you laugh in seconds. He could get on with anyone.'
Talking about when she found out he'd been taken hostage, she bravely explained, 'It was the week of my sixteenth birthday and I was in France. No matter where he was in the world, he’d phone or text me on my birthday, so I thought that was odd. I realised I hadn’t heard from him for over a month. Then within two days of returning, I found out he’d been kidnapped.'
Bethany revealed she initially wasn't allowed to discuss his situation, ‘Even my grandparents didn’t know. I disclosed it to some of my best friends at school out of sheer desperation, but they didn’t believe me - they thought I’d made it up for attention. Having them not believe me made me not go to school.'