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Star turns

15:38 18 August 2011

Star turns

Star turns

Stage and screen favourites are coming to our area this autumn and editor Jan Raycroft caught up with some familiar faces hoping to entertain you.


Dear Biggins is one of those people you could spend hours chatting with. He has an amazing host of stories about the famous and is also an excellent listener, so its no surprise that hes been a welcome guest at so many of the highest tables. Of course, hes also met and often worked with some of the biggest names. You can see why all the other jungle stars loved him in Im A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.


The conversation just flows. And so it is that during our chat we divert to discussing the state of the West End, parking charges, and what a lot of rubbish is on TV right now, before getting back to the real business.


Biggins is spilling all. Well, not quite all, but more than enough to entertain those of us who love to hear the inside track on famous people. Its something of a surprise that An Evening With Christopher Biggins is the first time hes taken a one-man show to theatre stages, but it does mean that were about to hear some fascinating anecdotes for the first time.


"You know, Ive reached that age where you discover you can say absolutely anything. Its wonderfully invigorating, a real joy!" he declares. "Theres a question and answer session during the show and Im going to be totally honest about everything, people can ask what they like."


What everything? Biggins must have witnessed so many of those moments some stars might not like spread around the populace. Well, not totally indiscreet, and nothing nasty, of course, but definitely revelatory, perhaps heading towards the hilarious or naughty side of gossip. It all sounds irresistible.


One of the joys for Biggins is that the show will take different directions as he heads around the country, with audience reaction and questions helping to set the tone for each evening. Hes done something similar, having been lucky enough to give talks and lectures on the last world cruise of the QE2 after Im A Celebrity. But this is real, live theatre and you can tell he cant wait!


"It will go through my career, right from the early days at Salisbury Rep, through all the television stuff (including Porridge and I, Claudius) and to moments like meeting The Queen."


Biggins is also a familiar face in pantomime, a theatre form he staunchly defends and actively supports because it is one of the surest ways of introducing new people to the electric world of live stage performance, particularly in the regions. This year hell be at Cardiff in Robinson Crusoe & the Caribbean Pirates.


On top of that hes among a cast of familiar faces in a currently being filmed version of Ray Cooneys classic British farce, Run For Your Wife. It stars Danny Dyer as John Smith, a taxi driver who has been in bigamous marriages with Michelle (Denise Van Outen) and Stephanie (Sarah Harding) for five years. As well as Biggins, the film will include appearances by Neil Morrisey, Cliff Richard, Ray Winstone, Lionel Blair, Richard Briers, Dennis Waterman, and Rolf Harris.


But, in the meantime, start thinking about those questions youd love to ask Biggins is going to answer them!


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