LOUISE ENGLISH BIOGRAPHY
Louise English brings a distinctive method of performing to her varied stage,
television and film roles, gracefully combining a delightful sense of wit and élan with beauty and intelligence.
Early Life and Education
born in London into a family devoted to the arts. Louise's mother, Elizabeth
(Liz) English was an actress, singer and dancer who appeared in Evening Stars,
a review that toured with Benny Hill during his early show business career. She
later worked for the BBC.
Louise describes her
“She was a wonderful singer and was in the films Oliver! Half a Sixpence
Chitty Bang Bang
and she used to be a backing singer for Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck in
the 60s and she made some wonderful recordings. It's actually her voice on the
Bobby Goldsboro song 'Honey'.”
She was also the voice of Marie the kitten in the classic Disney film, The
And of her
father Louise says, “My
father was a classical musician and conductor with the Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra and he played the violin as well.”
Not surprisingly, she’s always wanted to be a performer.
“I'm afraid that music was born in me and, apparently, I
used to stand in the wings and desperately want to get on the stage. It must
have been horrendous for my poor mother and father and I think they did their
utmost to stop me from doing it but it didn't work!
When I was two-and-a-half, I
was sent to this ballet lesson and I picked it up and started dancing. I used to
go once a week and then I got a scholarship to the Stella Mann School of Ballet.
I just loved dancing. Stella Mann very kindly gave me a personal scholarship.”
instilled a lifelong discipline into Louise with lessons all day and dancing
between 5-7 p.m.
She enjoyed her time at dance school, saying:
“That was very good training, very hard. We took all our
O-levels and A-levels very early. The idea was to get our education finished as
quickly as possible then get into Royal Ballet School."
Louise excelled in academics
as well, earning a very high standard in both French and German languages. She also developed her acting skills at the
well-known Anna Scher
Louise began her showbiz career at an early age when, while
still at school, her superb dance skills earned her the role of the ballerina in
the classic children’s film Bugsy Malone.
“I was so thrilled to be chosen but my ballet school didn’t
really approve very much — it wasn’t encouraged. I was on a private scholarship,
awarded to me by the headmistress, so it must have come as a bit of a shock to
her when I said I was going to leave to be an actress.”
She was selected as Butlin's Holiday Princess soon thereafter and
then won a beauty contest sponsored by British Leyland and Weekend Magazine.
While still in school she auditioned for a place with the famous Pan's
offered a contract.
"When I told the principal I
was not going to join the Royal Ballet but intended to go into Pan's People she
was somewhat shocked and gasped, 'Who!'. She always wanted me to go to the Royal
Ballet but my plan was completely different. I never wanted to be a ballet
dancer. I wanted to sing, dance and act, to get into musical theatre.”
She accepted the Pan’s People offer and, only a couple days after
completing her schooling, began a year with the group that was filled with
appearing on television spots and commercials and
at fashion shows; plus
a Christmas season with Jimmy Tarbuck.
After wowing the audience at an Isle of Wight
it was obvious that singing was to become an important part of Louise's career
as well. She performed as the featured singer in a cabaret act that toured the
UK, Channel Islands and Bangkok and soon formed her own group, Patches,
which enjoyed great success at London clubs.
Louise wasted no time in further developing her acting skills as
she began her theatre career with the roles of Olivia in Twelfth Night
and Edna in Harlequinade.
soon had a chance to present her acting,
dancing talent to a world-wide audience. She appeared as a member of
The Benny Hill Show and was
then selected by Benny Hill to appear in sketches as a cast member.
She explains: “I met
Benny when I was in the group [Pan’s People] and he came to see us. When I first worked with Benny he didn’t have the
‘Hill’s Angels'. He
was looking for five or six girls who could sing, dance and act in comedy
sketches. I was given a line in a sketch, then a sketch was written for me, and
after that I became his leading lady.”
Louise's outstanding comic timing allowed her to more than hold her
own with one of the true masters of comedy and she was soon chosen to be one of
the original members of the famous Hill’s Angels.
She quickly became the
featured performer and her solo renditions of classic songs including
La Vie En Rose,
Pour Un Flirt Avec Toi,
and have been seen by
more than 1 billion television viewers in over 140 countries.
Louise says of working with
“Lovely Benny. He was a very professional man to work with and extremely funny
and a very sensitive man. He was a super guy."
And the admiration was
mutual with Benny saying of Louise, "She definitely has that bit extra. She is
Louise’s beauty, talent and charm made a lasting impression on young men (and
their fathers) around the world and perhaps no place more so than the United
“They wanted me to go to
America in the 1980s, but I didn’t go. I didn’t want to leave my mum, and my
dogs, and my home. I’m too much of a home girl,” she explains.
And the admiration continues
to this day. "They loved him and his shows in America and I get lots of fan
letters from over there," says Louise.
Respect for Louise’s skills soon earned her guest star appearances
on many television shows including a featured dramatic turn as Cherry on
Lytton's Diary; the role of Lucia Morella, Karl Howman’s Italian girlfriend,
on two series of the popular BBC series
and as co-host for the pilot of the BBC game show Full Swing.
Louise was also a featured guest star on TV
entertainment specials including:
Elkie and Our Gang
with Elkie Brooks and Gemma Craven, Saturday Royal,
and Entertainment Express (all
choreographed by Nigel Lythgoe); The Mike Yarwood Show, Dream Alley
She also earned additional credits on a variety of popular television shows
Fresh Fields, Full House, Chance in a
Million, Give Us a Clue and Don’t Rock the Boat.
Louise honed her acting skills on television and in repertory
theatre and was soon asked to appear in movies including
the featured role of Diana Caulder in the cult-classic
The House of the Long
Shadows with Vincent Price, Christopher Lee,
and Peter Cushing (now
available on remastered DVD); and in
The Wicked Lady
with Faye Dunaway and Denholm Elliott.
Louise says, “You learn a
lot [doing films]. And I enjoy doing films as much as theatre.”
Louise is a veteran of many highly successful national tours
including nine-months as the lead in Mike Harding's hilarious comedy
Fur Coat and No Knickers,
Ted Willis' play
and Russ Abbot's Madhouse. She also traveled to
perform as the lead in Neil Simon's I Ought To Be In Pictures.
She has showcased her acting, dancing, and singing skills in many
musicals including playing the highly acclaimed role of Louise in
the Crucible Theatre, selling out every performance. She stole the show as Bella
Spellgrove on the cast recorded CD of
Sherlock Holmes The Musical,
and displayed her lovely soprano voice in Maxwell — The Musical and
Italian Idol — The Musical.
The Adelphi Theatre in London's West End
is a place that holds very fond memories for Louise, for when she was a girl she
used to sit in the orchestra pit and watch her father conduct Charlie Girl.
And the Adelphi Theatre was the site of her breakthrough West End performance as
earned great acclaim playing Sally Smith in
Me and My Girl,
with Karl Howman — breaking all box office records.
asked back for a special eight-week run
Me and My Girl
and then was
asked to perform the role
of Sally Smith
for an additional year at the Adelphi Theatre
with Les Dennis.
And, as Louise explains, the
fond memories continue.
"When I did Me and My Girl
in the West End, the wonderful and great Benny Hill came to see me
on a Wednesday matinee. He was very ill at the time, it was just about the last
few days of his life, and he did struggle. I remember him sitting about four
rows from the front and he stood up and applauded me at the end and he was
crying. That was amazing because he was like a Dad to me."
Louise also starred in the national tour of My Dearest Ivor,
an original musical that
the legendary Ivor Novello. In this wonderful show she played eight roles and
sang ten songs!
Louise comments, “That was
a lovely tour, I really enjoyed that. I love the Novello music.”
Not content with singing, dancing and performing comedy, Louise
sank her acting teeth into meaty dramatic roles as Bella Manningham in the
as Sybil Chase in
and as Liz in Shadow of Doubt.
She has appeared as the lead in many other plays
Suddenly at Home, Don't Dress For Dinner,
There's A Girl In My Soup,
Love Off The Shelf, Strip Poker and
Cider with Rosie.
With such great range as an
actress, what genre does Louise prefer?
"Having that diversity is something I’ve always strived for.
It would have been very easy to have just done light entertainment all the time,
but I wanted to also do straight plays and Shakespeare and luckily I’ve been
able to do that. I enjoy a challenge – that’s what it’s all about for me."
is one of the UK’s top pantomime performers and
as the principal girl or
in over ten
throughout the UK including: Aladdin,
Jack and the Beanstalk,
Mother Goose, The Bells of Notre Dame
and a record-breaking run as
She has also
played such wonderful characters as the Princess in Aladdin, Mrs Darling
and the Magical
Peter Pan, the Forest Fairy in
Snow White and Maid Marion
in Babes in the Wood.
During the millennium, Louise starred as Lady Chiltern in the UK
tour of An Ideal Husband
and as the lead in the Christmas pantomime
Jack and the Beanstalk
at the Hall for Cornwall.
The following year found Louise portraying Grace Farrell in
Annie The Musical - for the first time - at the Theatre Royal Lincoln. And Louise was delighted to
reprise her wonderful role as Sally Smith in the sold-out Christmas production
of Me and My Girl
at the Alexandra
During 2002, Louise earned kudos for her performance as Grace
Farrell in the first of several Annie The Musical
UK and Ireland
tours. She played Evelyn in
and Helen Tenby in Suddenly at Home, both at the Theatre Royal Windsor.
She also enjoyed starring as the fairy tale princess
during the 2002-2003 Christmas pantomime season at the Theatre Royal Lincoln —
once again setting a box office record.
Not one to bask in her successes, Louise displayed her broad range
of skills as she tread the boards during 2003 as Anne Norbury in William
The Sound of Murder;
as Molly Forsyth in William Douglas Home's comedy
The Secretary Bird;
and as Vivien Norwood in Francis Durbridge's thriller,
all at the Theatre Royal Windsor.
Later that same year she starred as Sally in
favourite John Inman at the Bournemouth Pier
Theatre. As an additional treat for her fans, Louise reprised her tremendous
success as Grace Farrell, earning rave reviews during a sold-out September
through November 2003 UK and Ireland
Annie The Musical.
discusses the challenge of performing such a wide range of roles:
"I try to choose a variety of
work – and good work. It’s lovely to be able to do all these different roles.
That’s the beauty of doing what I do, it’s such a joy to work on it. It’s great
fun," she says.
Louise travelled to Singapore during the spring of 2004, to play Teresa Phillips
in Alan Ayckbourn's acclaimed farce,
How The Other Half Loves.
She then reprised her hugely successful role as Grace
Annie The Musical
in Kuala Lumpur and in an August 2004 through January 2005 sold-out UK national tour.
She returned to Kuala Lumpur in
2005 to star as Nancy in
Oliver! The Musical
at the Genting International Showroom. She reprised her signature role as
Grace Farrell in
Annie The Musical 2005,
touring the UK and Ireland from June through November and then played the roles
and the Marilyn Monroe-esque Magical Mermaid in the Christmas pantomime
at the Manchester Opera House.
Two-thousand and six found Louise reprising her acclaimed role as Grace Farrell for
the last time in a three-month UK tour of
Annie The Musical
that played through November. She wrapped-up the year starring as
Mrs Darling and The Mermaid in
at the Wycombe Swan Theatre.
During the 2007-2008 Christmas pantomime season, Louise played the
role of the Forest Fairy in
Snow White and The Seven
Dwarfs at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley.
Two-thousand and eight was yet another busy year as Louise starred as sophisticated
hat shop owner Irene Molloy to great acclaim in an eight-month UK tour of the
that ran from February through August 2008.
She barely had time to catch her
breath before beginning a nine-month tour in September as the leading lady in
the new musical
All The Fun Of The Fair with David Essex.
Louise describes her
"I play a gypsy called
Rosa, who's desperately in love with Levi Lee (David Essex), and who has a
daughter. She's a tough woman, she knows what she wants and she doesn't get
messed around by people and she's nobody's fool. It's a fabulous role -
completely different from Irene Molloy, who's very soft and feminine. This woman
is sexy, she's voluptuous and she knows what she wants and goes and gets it.”
2009 found Louise continuing in the
role of Rosa
in the new musical
All The Fun Of The Fair, with David Essex, which toured the UK through May. She is also featured on the
All The Fun Of The Fair compact disc performing her solo interpretation
of A Winter's Tale and her duet with David Essex, You’re In My Heart.
Louise says of the tour, “It is hard work touring and
travelling round the
country but the audience response is wonderful, which makes it all worthwhile.”
She continues, “The show is doing phenomenally well. It’s very rewarding to see the audience standing on their feet
at the end and then to read these five-star reviews.”
Christmas 2009 found Louise playing the roles
of Mrs Darling/Mia the Mermaid/Indian Chief in the Peter Pan pantomime at the
Marlowe Theatre Arena in Canterbury.
How does Louise endure such long and demanding tours year-after-year? She
gives a quick lesson on professionalism that everyone could benefit from by
taking to heart, saying:
“It’s a discipline. You have
to give a hundred per cent. You’ve got people out there who have paid a lot of
money to see you. As a professional I certainly couldn’t come off stage knowing
I’d only given 90. That has come from my ballet training. The long, long hours I
used to do at the bar, training for hours and hours to get one move absolutely
Louise starred as Miss Peterson/Jacqui Henderson in
Night Fright: The Nightmare of Your Life at the Gordon Craig
Theatre during February 2010.
She then reprised her starring role as leading lady Rosa, a
beautiful and mysterious Irish fortuneteller, in a highly acclaimed smash-hit
return to the West End in
All The Fun Of The Fair that played from April through September
at the Garrick Theatre and sang on the West End version of the
All The Fun Of The Fair CD.
Louise wrapped her original leading lady role as Rosa, a beautiful and mysterious Irish fortune teller, in
the smash-hit 2011/2012 UK tour of the West End musical All The Fun Of The Fair,
where the lovely lady starred alongside pop legend David Essex as Levi Lee and
is excited to announce that an All The Fun Of The
Fair DVD filmed on tour is now available. She is also featured on
the documentary House Of The Long
2013 found Louise playing the role of Gina in
a private rehearsed reading of the new high-octane drama
Truth, Lies, Diana. And during the Christmas pantomime
season Louise played the Fairy Godmother we all dreamed of in
at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford.
During 2014 Louise
starred in the original role of Alice in the world premiere of the BLOCKBUSTER The Musical.
2018 finds Louise preparing to perform a reading of The Nuchess by Seiriol Davies in a tribute to the NHS during June at The Old Vic in London.
During the Christmas season Louise will play Emily, Buddy's stepmother, in an arena tour
of ELF The Musical, with David Essex as
Buddy's father and Martine McCutcheon as Buddy's girlfriend, Jovie.
Louise reflects on her
career-to-date, saying: “Everything I’ve ever done I’ve done with great pride.
I’ve been very lucky. I’ve worked with some lovely people and I’ve had some
great experiences. And I think it’s lovely to keep testing yourself, trying
something new, and seeing how far you can go.”
With all that Louise has done in her career, what does she
“I think I'd like to do
some more television. What I’d like to do is something I haven’t done
before – maybe a role on a soap. To be a goody-two-shoes that turns into an
absolute monster – wear nice clothes – that sort of thing, [also]
a lovely, good television drama would be
Of course, musicals are always on Louise's mind. "I'd like to have done
My Fair Lady very much. I think
it's a lovely musical," she says.
And with Louise's great popularity in pantomimes she further reveals her
ambitions saying, "I would love to play the Wicked Queen.
Rosa will lead me down a
different road and away from the goody-two-shoes towards the naughty ones?"
And what does Louise enjoy doing when she’s not on stage?
“I love taking my dogs for a walk and I love decorating. I
like doing houses up. I’m quite creative but I like getting up ladders and
taking all the old wallpaper down. One day I’m going to learn rewiring.”
And Louise wants to thank all of her "loving
and loyal fans" for your "incredible kindness and steadfast support".
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