British actress Louise English print,newspaper and internet interviews.


 
Louise English Internet and Print Interviews
 


 

Online Interviews:

The Reporter — Louise reveals what panto means to her.

Northern Echo — Louise discusses her days as one of Benny Hill's Angels and the All The Fun Of The Fair UK tour with Viv Hardwick.

 

Print Interviews:

Shields Gazette — Louise reveals interesting bits about her early career, her time on The Benny Hill Show and the All The Fun Of The Fair tour to entertainment reporter, Steve Burbridge.

Canterbury Times — Louise talks about current and upcoming plans.

UK Theatre Net — Louise talks about many areas of interest to all her fans in this lengthy, well-done interview by Steve Burbridge.

Evening Gazette — Louise discusses her role as Grace Farrell in Annie The Musical.

Crackerjack — Louise tells Natalie Hale about her career and the All The Fun Of The Fair tour with David Essex.

The Stage — Louise discusses the All The Fun Of The Fair tour with Kevin Berry of the respected British arts and entertainment newspaper.

The Herald (Scotland) — Louise discusses her views of friendship with Marisa Duffy.

Titbits — An interview never before published on the internet. Be sure to read this one!

This is Lincolnshire — Louise provides her views on cosmetic surgery.

Birmingham Post — Louise discusses her early years of training.

Lincolnshire Echo — A few words about the Snow White pantomime.

HELLO! Magazine — Louise speaks about playing Snow White in the West End.

Isle of Wight Weekly Post — A real blast from the past! Eagle-eyed showbiz journalist John Hannam saw Louise's star power early in her career.

 

FOR TELEVISION AND RADIO INTERVIEWS, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

"Stars Of Cinderella In Dartford Reveal What Panto Means To Them"

By Joshua Fowler

Excerpted from The Reporter (www.gravesendreporter.co.uk); 19 December 2013

Louise English, the Fairy Godmother, has previously starred in productions of Gypsy, Cabaret, Annie and Oliver!

"I think we love it because of the fantasy. You go into a little dream world and children get so much joy from it all.

"I must have been in about 20 pantomimes during my career, which have all mainly been Aladdin and Snow White. This is my first year playing the Fairy Godmother and we have some spectacular horses that come on stage – it really is wonderful.

"I haven’t done a panto for about five years as I was in a musical in the West End with David Essex, so this is the first chance I have had to get back into it.

"I hope we leave some great memories for the children who come to see us.

"My first panto was at the Manchester Palace alongside Les Dawson. I must say I’ve been really lucky in that respect, and have worked with some terrific people."

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"Louise English is "pan-tastic" in Canterbury Panto

Canterbury Times; 24 December 2009

ACTRESS Louise English is frantically busy these days. The former Pan's People dancer and Benny Hill Angel is playing up to three shows a day at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre Arena.

She plays the triple role of Mrs Darling, Mia the Mermaid and Big Chief Squatting Cow in the panto Peter Pan alongside former Bottom star Ade Edmondson as Mr Darling and Captain Hook and Herne's own tubby funnyman Dave Lee as the fairy Tinkerbelly.

On one of her few days off - Christmas Day - she returned to her home to cook Christmas dinner for her family.

"I just don't seem to have enough hours in the day," she admitted.

She had just heard she is to return to the West End in April as gypsy girl Rosa alongside David Essex in All The Fun Of The Fair.

"It's brilliant news and you are the first person I've told. It's hot off the press," she said as she prepared to walk her two dogs.

Even in panto she insists on finding time to drive home to give the animals a run. But she refuses to reveal their names.

"There are dog-nappers about," she warned.

"I had a friend who had her dogs stolen after she let slip what they were called and she was sent a ransom note for £5,000."

Not even the dastardly Hook would sink so low.

Louise's father was a conductor with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and her mum Liz was an actress, singer and dancer who appeared in the films Oliver! Half a Sixpence and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

She was also a backing singer for Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck and it was her voice on the Bobby Goldsboro hit Honey.

Louise said: "I'm afraid music was born in me. I used to stand in the wings and desperately want to get on the stage.

"My poor mother and father did their utmost to stop me but it didn't work!"

When she was two she had her first ballet lesson and later won a scholarship to the Stella Mann School of Ballet. She recalled: "It was very good training, very hard."

She later enrolled in the Anna Scher Theatre School in Islington. One of her first roles was as the ballerina in the children's film Bugsy Malone.

She said: "I was so thrilled to be chosen but my ballet school didn't really approve. It wasn't encouraged."

Worse was to follow. She auditioned for Top of the Pops dancers Pan's People.

"When I told the principal I was going to join Pan's People and not the Royal Ballet she was somewhat shocked. But I never wanted to be a ballet dancer. I wanted to sing, dance and act and to get into musical theatre."

She added: "I met Benny when I was in Pan's People. He came to see us. When I first worked with him he didn't have his Hill's Angels but was looking for five or six girls who could sing, dance and act in comedy sketches.

"I was given a line, then a sketch was written for me, and after that I became his leading lady."

She said: "I loved working with him. He was very professional and extremely funny. He was also very sensitive and a super guy."

Just before he died he went to see her perform in Me and My Girl in the West End.

She said: "It was 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."

She has played Karl Howman's Italian girlfriend Lucia Morella in Brush Strokes and met Whitstable horror actor Peter Cushing while making the film The House of the Long Shadows with Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and John Carradine.

Last year she toured in the musical Hello, Dolly! then began a nine-month tour in All The Fun Of The Fair.

Doesn't she ever feel tired?

She said: "It's a discipline. You have to give a hundred per cent. There are people in the audience who have paid a lot of money. As a professional I could never come off stage knowing I'd only given 90 per cent.

"Everything I've ever done I've done with great pride. I've worked with some lovely people and I've had some great experiences.

"The only thing I haven't done is have a role in a TV soap. I'd like to be a goody-two-shoes who turns into an absolute monster. That would be fantastic.

"Maybe playing Rosa will lead me down a different road towards the naughty ones?"

Maybe we'll find out in the new year.

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"Theatre Interview: David Essex in All The Fun Of The Fair"

By Natalie Hale

Excerpted from Crackerjack (www.crackerjack.co.uk); 14 May 2009

Louise is one of the UK’s leading musical theatre stars and has led West End shows and national tours to record-setting success. She is also remembered for being one of the very beautiful Hill’s Angels on The Benny Hill Show.

“I’m loving All The Fun Of The Fair,” she smiles.

“I play an Irish traveller who believes she has the gift to see things. I don’t know if anyone else believes it, but she certainly does. She’s a good, caring mother and she adores and worships David’s character Levi.

“She goes on a moving journey in the show, although I can’t say too much or it will spoil it for the audience.

“I’m actually playing my age for the first time. I’ve always played women who are 29 or 30 before – this character is about 40. I like that, it’s more comfortable.”

Louise’s first professional role was as the ballet dancer in the 1976 film Bugsy Malone. But it was at the tender age of 16 that she became a regular face on our TV screens in The Benny Hill Show.

“I was very, very young when I look back. Benny was very strict and quite demanding.

“It was never easy and never handed to me on a plate, but I adored him. He worked so hard himself and couldn’t understand why others didn’t. So I had that discipline from the age of 16, which was really useful.

“He came to see me in a show just four days before he died. He was obviously unwell and knew it. He insisted on having our photograph taken together, which I thought was very odd because he’d never done that before.

“That picture became the one that was used in the papers just a few days later, after he passed away.

“He didn’t die unhappy and didn’t die alone, as many papers reported. He chose that life and was perfectly happy in it.”

Louise’s diverse career has spanned everything from Benny Hill to Brush Strokes, Shakespeare to Snow White.

“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.

“I’m loving this tour. You just know when you’re on a successful show – it’s a lovely feeling.

“We get standing ovations regularly and it’s not something I take lightly. I’m looking forward to bringing it to Bristol audiences.”

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"Former Hill's Angel Flutters Into Sunderland Empire"

By Steve Burbridge

Shields Gazette; 6 March 2009

 

All's Fair For West End Star Louise

 

STAR of stage, television and film, Louise English will be starring as the mysterious gypsy fortune-teller Rosa, in All The Fun Of The Fair, at the Sunderland Empire.

 

Reporter STEVE BURBRIDGE caught up with her, and found out why she’s delighted to be roaming North East England once again.

 

UNUSUALLY for a successful West End leading lady, Louise English is not a ‘diva’ in the least. Despite that, she arrives at the fashionable restaurant for our interview looking just as glamorous as any of the legendary actresses that Hollywood has ever put on the silver screen.

 

Currently starring as Rosa, an attractive Irish clairvoyant, in All The Fun Of The Fair, with David Essex, Louise is thrilled to be returning to the Sunderland Empire.

 

“I’ve performed here quite often and I love it, especially because the people are so kind and welcoming and they have a great sense of humour,” she said.

 

“Also, North East England has some beautiful theatres and the Sunderland Empire is absolutely stunning since its refurbishment. So, with the combination of a beautiful theatre and great audiences, how could anyone not love working here?”

 

All The Fun Of The Fair is a new musical with a contemporary story and a heartbreaking twist that showcases the hits of David Essex.

 

“It’s all done very cleverly,” explains Louise. “There is a reason for each song to be there and they are all used well.”

 

While the ladies in the audience may be swooning over David Essex, many of their fellas will recognise Louise from her days as one of the original ‘Hill’s Angels’ from The Benny Hill Show.

 

Louise remembers that time with great affection.

 

“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,” she said.

 

“I was given a line in a sketch, then a sketch was written for me, and after that I became his leading lady.”

 

Louise began her showbiz career at an early age when, while at the Stella Mann School of Ballet, she appeared 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 attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre School and turned down the opportunity to train at the Royal Ballet School.

 

At 16, Louise was offered a contract with the dance troupe Pans People and spent a year performing for television, theatre, cabaret and corporate events. She then formed her own group, Patches, which enjoyed success in London’s nightclubs.

 

A stint in repertory theatre followed and Louise appeared in several feature films before carving herself a hugely successful career in musical theatre. She has garnered critical acclaim for her performances as Nancy in Oliver!, Grace Farrell in Annie, Sally Smith in Me & My Girl and Louise in Gypsy.

 

Her success continues with her current role in All The Fun Of The Fair, for which she has been receiving rave reviews.

 

“It’s very rewarding to see the audience standing on their feet at the end and then to read these five-star reviews,” says Louise.

 

“It is hard work touring and travelling round the country but the audience response is wonderful, which makes it all worthwhile.”

 

Louise’s character, Rosa, is a gypsy fortune-teller who is in love with Levi, played by Essex.

 

“She’s a very tough woman and she’s had a hard life, but she’s sexy and voluptuous, too. She knows what she wants and she doesn’t get messed around by people, she’s nobody’s fool,” says Louise.

 

Louise has already decided how she’ll spend her free time in Sunderland.

 

“I adore the countryside and coastline here so I am looking forward to taking a walk in Seaburn before enjoying a meal in The Marsden Grotto. Then, of course, I love shopping so I’ll probably end up visiting The Bridges for some retail therapy, too.”

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"Showpeople: Louise English"

By Kevin Berry

The Stage; 26 February 2009

 

Currently touring in the musical All the Fun of the Fair is the hugely respected Louise English. She is playing David Essex’s love interest.

 

So, what is David Essex like to work with?

 

He’s a darling, an ordinary, lovely person. We get on extremely well. He knows his craft and he knows what works.

 

How did you start in the business?

 

I started dancing when I was about two and a half. Apparently I was quite plump and I didn’t walk. My mum thought I was quite lazy or I couldn’t move my legs. That’s how it started really. 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. My mother didn’t want me to go to a stage school and neither did my father. Stella Mann always wanted me to go to the Royal Ballet but I wanted to sing and to act, to get into musical theatre.

 

You worked in television for Benny Hill. What did you learn from him?

 

He was a lovely man, very intelligent. He could speak quite a few languages. He always used to say – be on time, always be prepared and always work at accents. You get more work. It did help because in this show I’m playing an Irish character.

 

Was that early ballet training useful?

 

My ballet has always been very important to me. It’s been my centre. It’s helped me with discipline. With a good ballet training you can do any kind of dance. It gives you something to lean on, even when you are singing. You know how to stand, you know how to breathe.

 

How do you stay fresh on such a long tour?

 

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 correct.

 

What is most irksome about touring?

 

Finding digs. You get a list from the company manager and then you have to look through the list. You have to pay for it yourself. When you arrive at a new venue you have to find where you’re staying that night, drop your bag off, then you’ve got to get back to the theatre to do the first show – which is always when it’s reviewed. Then you think – where is my key? Will I find my way back? But it’s a great way to see the country. There’s no point staying in bed all day.

 

How do you relax?

 

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.

 

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"Forging A Friendship That Lasts Forever"

By Marisa Duffy

Excerpted from The Herald (Scotland); 29 October 2008

True happiness, as Ben Jonson so eloquently put it, consists not in the multitude of friends but in their worth and choice. That, however, was 400 years ago; today, social networking sites such as Facebook mean the forging of hundreds of new friendships has never been easier.

Despite the suggestion by the British anthropologist Robin Dunbar that the human brain cannot cope with a social group larger than 150, it is not uncommon to find people with more than 300 online "friends". However, recent research at Nottingham University found that the optimum number of friendships to ensure general happiness is a rather simpler 10.

Being prepared to share the intimate details of our life is one of the defining characteristics of true friendship, says Dr Richard Tunney, associate professor of psychology at Nottingham. Helping someone out, despite the fact it will disadvantage you, was also among his criteria. Men, he suggests, tend to have more friends - but women hold closer friendships.

We asked five people aged from 15 to 70 about what friendship means to them.

Louise English, actress, London

What is a friend?
A true friend is someone who shows loyalty. It's a very rare quality.

How many do you have?
I'd class about nine people as very loyal, kind friends.

Do you have a best friend?
I've got two very close friends I made at school when I was nine years old, and another best friend I met just after school. One lives in New York now, unfortunately.

How often do you see your friends?
With one friend I have lovely reunion lunches, which is nice - and my friend in New York still comes over. We're lucky with mobiles and texting - there's always something new to say every few days.

Ever had a fall-out?
I'm lucky, but I can say I don't think I have. I choose my friends carefully - I don't just have loads of friends.

Louise English appears in All The Fun Of The Fair at the King's Theatre, Glasgow, from November 3-8.

To read the full version of this article click here.

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"Hill's Angel"

By Viv Hardwick

The Northern Echo; 19 September 2008

Louise English tells Viv Hardwick about her days as one of Benny Hill’s Angels as she prepares to co-star with David Essex in the new musical, All The Fun Of The Fair, which tours to Darlington.

At 16, Louise English gained national fame by becoming one of the scantily-clad Hill’s Angels being chased or chasing Benny Hill in the Benny Hill Show before his style of comedy was unceremoniously dumped by ITV in 1989.

She went on to become one of Hill’s leading ladies in sketches and forged a rare friendship with the comedian, who went down in history as dying alone in the front of the television in 1992, aged 68.

English, whose early break was the role of a ballerina in the classic 1976 children’s film, Bugsy Malone, has moved on to musicals, was recently seen in Hello Dolly! with Anita Dobson and Darren Day, and returns to Darlington’s Civic Theatre next week in All The Fun Of The Fair with David Essex.

Looking back, she adamantly denies that Benny Hill was the sad and introverted character portrayed in the media.

“Lovely Benny. He was a very professional man to work with and extremely funny and a very sensitive man. He was a super guy,” she says.

In 2002, Channel 4 made a programme called Who Got Benny Hill’s Millions? which claimed there was a mystery about what happened to the £7m of the £10m estate left by the comedian.

“I don’t think the money disappeared and I don’t think there was a ‘sadness of the clown’ side to him. He was sensitive and I don’t think he was introverted. He wasn’t lonely, he was very happy and just loved his work and was just a normal, lovely person. He just kept himself to himself and didn’t go to any showbizzy parties and I suppose that’s why people didn’t get to know him.

"Then people make things up and it was presumed that he lost all his money and presumed he was lonely. He wasn’t at all. I believe he left lots behind and his family did very well.

“They’ve also done lovely programmes about him on TV and he was very much loved by the people who worked with him. It certainly didn’t do my career any harm,” says English.

The story goes that her name was on a list of friends that Hill made with nominated amounts of money. The note was vague as to its intention and unsigned, so Hill’s millions were shared among seven nephews and nieces.

Although Hill’s work is seldom repeated on UK TV, he remains tremendously popular in the US, Australia and Europe.

Looking forward, the Londoner feels excited about bringing a new show to the stage, especially when she’s been cast as David Essex’s love interest.

“All David’s songs were given to Jon Conway (the Scarborough-based boss of entertainment group Qdos) and he wrote a play around them ensuring that there was a reason for each one to be there. It’s cleverly done and songs like Hold Me Close are used well. I think the fans will like it because they’ll know everything he’s put on record,” she says.

English plays Rosa, a clairvoyant, who starts the show off by foretelling a dangerous future and revealing that she’s in love with Levi Lee, the widower and funfair owner played by David Essex.

For younger musical fans, there’s a love story between Rosa’s daughter, Mary (Emma Thornett) and Levi’s son Jack (Paul-Ryan Carberry).

When I point out that a few thousand women would probably want to be ahead of Rosa in the queue for Essex, she bursts into laughter.

“He’s fabulous to work with and so professional. He knows exactly how he wants things on stage. I’d never met him before this tour and it’s nice to work with someone so nice. He’s so charming and good-looking, but I haven’t quite fallen into the personal fan club away from the stage,” English jests.

She is definitely a fan of Darlington because of its mix of shops and restaurants and is looking forward to the Civic Friends’ group welcome which makes the venue one of the best in the country.

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"In Conversation With...Louise English"

By Steve Burbridge

UK Theatre Network; 21 June 2008

Louise English has headlined many West End musicals, starred in stage plays, appeared in numerous films and has countless television credits to her name. Constantly in demand, she is one of the UK's most popular and hard-working actresses.

She is currently appearing as Irene Molloy, alongside Anita Dobson as Dolly Levi, in an extensive national tour of Hello, Dolly!

 "I love Irene Molloy," says Louise. "She's a real lady; she's a widow who's had her heart broken by the death of her husband, Peter Molloy, whom she adored. She's been a widow for quite some time so she's desperate for a little bit of excitement and desperately wants to go dancing and to be taken out to a restaurant again. She runs a hat shop with her assistant, Minnie, who's very, very funny and she gets a lot of life from her. She's desperate to fall in love again, but doesn't ever think she will. So, she's going to marry Horace Vandergelder, who is older than her and comfortably well-off and, I suppose, in those days, that's what they did. It's more like an arranged marriage for her that Dolly Levi has set up. Then, one day, in walks Cornelius Hackl and she just falls so much in love with him instantly and, luckily, he falls in love with her, too. So, she gets a new start in life and, I think, she softens and lets go of the past and joins in with the future," explains Louise.

"Irene's been through a lot," she continues, "but she's optimistic that she's going to have a lovely time. That's why I like her."

The tour of Hello, Dolly! started at the beginning of February and continues until the end of August. It has already played at eighteen different venues nationwide and has seven more to go. Touring brings with it a gruelling schedule, and I ask Louise how she copes.

"Absolute discipline, that's what it is, absolute discipline," she states. "I've not been able to go out dancing, which is what I enjoy - just like Irene Molloy. I can't go out to any noisy bars or restaurants. It's a matter of just resting during the day and then exercising, warming-up and then doing the show on the evening so that the voice is completely in tune and on top of it all. It is very difficult, it's hard and everyone thinks it's glamorous but it's not. There's a lot of driving involved in touring, so it is difficult. But, I'm loving it and it all sort of pays off when you actually do the show."

I ask Louise how she manages to keep her performance fresh and sharp.

"I think it's purely by not being tired and by being fit that you do, yourself, feel fresh and well. Being healthy, that's the main thing. Also, different venues we go to have different sized theatres and different audiences and, indeed, all the audiences vary. They laugh at different things, which is interesting, from town to town. Somewhere in the south they'll find something different to laugh at than audiences somewhere in the north. It's all good, and as long as you feel fresh in yourself then I think your performance is fresh. I wouldn't like to do it if I felt ill or a bit down, you've got to keep yourself up."

For the past few years, Louise seems to have done one tour after another. I ask if she considers herself a workaholic.

"When I do work I have to give 150%. So, I suppose, yes, when I'm working I am a workaholic, it means the most important thing to me. But, if I'm decorating my house then I'll also do that 150% as well, so I'm quite dedicated to whatever I do. I'm very lucky as I get offered a lot of work and don't have to look too far to get work, but if being a workaholic means trampling over everyone to get there then I'm not like that at all. If it means when you're actually doing the job, yes I suppose I am a workaholic."

Louise won a scholarship at the age of nine to enter the Stella Mann School of Ballet in London. She also attended the Anna Scher School of Drama before carving herself a career in theatre, film and television. I wonder which aspect of performing she most enjoys - acting, singing or dancing?

"When I'm doing a play I love the acting so much, that's my first thing, but I do miss the singing. Then when I'm singing I think: 'Gosh, it's such hard work to sing because it takes you to another level.' So, that's hard work but it's a challenge and I love music. But then I do love dancing because that's how I trained, as a ballet dancer, which is a disciplined life. I like the three of them but, if I had to choose, I think acting is what I like most because in acting you never stop learning. I've always learned something new in every job I've done."

Louise's career started relatively early when she was chosen to play the ballerina in the movie Bugsy Malone. I ask her if she always wanted to be in show-business.

"Yes, I'm afraid I did, since I was two years old! My mother was on the stage in West End musicals and my father was a classical musician and conductor with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and he played the violin as well. So, 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! So, I went to ballet lessons when I was two and I just loved it."

I ask Louise if her mother, who was also an actress, gave her any advice about treading the boards.

"She didn't really want me to do it," says Louise. "She was a wonderful singer and was in the films Oliver!, Half a Sixpence and Chitty 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'.  I don't really think she wanted me to do it."

However, Louise did follow in her mother's footsteps and quickly became a darling of the West End musical. She has starred in Annie, Oliver!, Me & My Girl, Gypsy and currently Hello, Dolly! I ask Louise if there's a musical that she'd particularly like to star in.

"Yes, I'd like to have done My Fair Lady very much. I think it's a lovely musical. Although, Me & My Girl is very similar because it's about a cockney girl who turns into a lady at the end."

Louise has also appeared in numerous plays including Gaslight, Private Lives, An Ideal Husband and Don't Dress For Dinner. So, does she prefer appearing in musicals or straight drama?

"If the straight drama is a really good one, then, I think I prefer straight plays, but if I do a musical I like to do it as believably as possible."

Having performed opposite many accomplished and handsome actors including Karl Howman, Robert Powell and Wayne Sleep, I ask Louise who she would choose as her ideal leading man.

"There's an actor called Marc Warren who I'd love to work with, he was in the television series, Hustle. He's fabulous and I'd like to work with him, I must say."

Louise will be appearing in Hello, Dolly! until the end of August, then she will be starring in a new musical, All the Fun of the Fair with David Essex.

I'm very excited about it," she says. "It's a musical play that's been written by Jon Conway and it's got David Essex's music in it. I've got the lovely chance to sing that beautiful song, A Winter's Tale, which was one of his big hits. 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. And I get to sing with David Essex which is one of my dreams, so I'm over the moon!"

Louise has appeared as principal boy or girl in many pantomimes throughout the country. Her sultry looks and long raven hair would be perfect for the Wicked Queen and I ask her if she'd like to explore her darker side by playing this role.

"I would love to play the Wicked Queen and, in fact, I was asked to play her last year but couldn't do it. So, I'm hoping that maybe next Christmas I might. I'd like to because I think she's much more fun and the older you get the more you lose your inhibitions, so you can just go for it and be really nasty. Maybe playing Rosa will lead me down a different road and away from the goody-two-shoes towards the naughty ones?"

I ask Louise if she has any other unfulfilled professional ambitions.

"I think I'd like to do some more television. I used to do a lot of television in the 80s and in the 90s I did theatre. If you get out of the television habit you lose touch with who the casting people are. A lovely, good television drama would be fantastic."

Finally, Louise reveals one of the proudest moments of her career.

"When I did Me & 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."

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"Full Of Grace And Loving It"

Evening Gazette and icNewcastle

2 September 2005

Louise English has sparred with Bugsy Malone, Benny Hill, and Karl Howman. Now she is back on Teesside ready to take on Miss Hannigan again.

That can only mean one thing - the return of Annie, the heart-warming musical, and one little girl's chance to dream of a tomorrow away from her awful orphanage.

The latest of its regular visits our way opens the autumn season at the Civic Theatre in Darlington from Monday.

Louise plays kind and beautiful Grace Farrell, secretary to Daddy Warbucks, the millionaire philanthropist at the heart of the story. Ruth Madoc, late of Hi-de-Hi, is the dastardly Miss Hannigan.

"I've been in Annie since we started doing it five years ago and I'm loving it," says Louise. "The singing is lovely and there are lots of little children in the show and I like acting with children."

That goes against the showbiz dictate..."Never act with children or animals." Annie not only has lots of children, it even has a dog.

"I have no children but I do have a dog. It's called Hamish and it's a rescued dog," says Louise.

Perhaps that explains it, or maybe it is because Louise started in the business in the great children's film, Bugsy Malone.

She was 13, at ballet school and a keen student of French and German, when she landed the role of the ballerina in Bugsy.

She went on to win beauty contests, dance with Pan's People, and had turned to acting in Shakespeare when Benny Hill asked her to be one of the Hill's Angels on his TV series.

"He was a lovely, lovely guy, and great fun to work with," she recalls. Her exceptional comic timing delighted Benny who was one of the great masters of the art and he took to writing sketches especially to feature her. She was also the featured performer in many song and dance numbers with him, and quickly became a favourite with the fans.

"They loved him and his shows in America and I get lots of fan letters from over there." She gets regular invites to make visits but turns them down. "I'm too busy," she explains.

Her comedy skills were later used to great effect by the BBC in Brush Strokes where she was Jacko's Italian love interest, Lucia, for two series. Karl Howman was Jacko and he and Louise teamed up again as the leads in the musical Me and My Girl.

They broke box office records in their year-long run at the Adelphi Theatre in London, and later returned for a special eight-week run before Louise came back for another year, this time opposite Les Dennis.

"I think Me and My Girl is very similar to Annie," she says. "They're both really nice and you always know when you are in a successful show. Annie is staggeringly popular and it's nice to be in something that packs the theatres. I like the touring and it's a very happy company. It's like a family now. We have the same Annie in Emma Hopkins as last year and I'm teaching her French."

Vicki Michelle was Miss Hannigan when this production took off in 2001 and Su Pollard took over from 2002. Now it's Ruth Madoc's turn.

Last year, Louise as Grace went with Annie to Kuala Lumpur and then returned for a British tour that sold out across the UK and ran from August to the end of this January. She has since been back to Kuala Lumpur to star as Nancy in Oliver!

"It's brilliant in the Far East, they like their theatre musicals," she says. "They've asked us to take Annie to China next year." They will have to wait for an answer.

"I'm leaving Annie at the end of November," says Louise. "I'm doing pantomime - Peter Pan - at the Opera House in Manchester with Steve McFadden from EastEnders."

The same Steve "Phil Mitchell" McFadden whose supposed distasteful sexual proclivities were splashed all over the papers recently?

"I was in France when that happened," says a disapproving Louise. "I'm playing Mrs. Darling and the Mermaid. He's playing Mr. Darling and Captain Hook."

Annie runs at the Civic Theatre until a week tomorrow. "It's a lovely theatre and I'm looking forward to going back there, we always have a nice time," says Louise.

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    "Cosmetic Surgery Has A Definite Place"

Lincolnshire Echo

21 January 2003

Actor Louise English, now starring as Snow White in the pantomime at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln, says vanity surgery is unnecessary.

"It is marvelous for people show have had car accidents and for people who are born with abnormalities. That is the positive side of it. A friend of mine had a car accident and went through the windscreen and this is where I saw the wonders of plastic surgery and how it can reverse unfortunate incidents like this. It is positively improving the quality of someone's life.

But when it comes to vanity I don't think it is necessary at all. At the moment I am playing Snow White in the pantomime at Lincoln's Theatre Royal and she is a fairytale beauty, young and fresh, unlike her ageing wicked stepmother. I am in my thirties and feel that the way I look has no bearing on the way I play the character. The audience accepts that.

I have no intention of ever doing anything to my body or face to make me appear younger. I have never entertained the idea of going under the knife to change anything about me. It hasn't crossed my mind. Why should it?

I have noticed that this country is becoming more and more like America with the emphasis on the physical, as opposed to what's going inside a person. There is a frenzy to change things that, I believe, often don't need changing - everything from chin implants to eye tucks.

I think people are too quick to find fault with their faces, their outward appearances. They'll spend enormous time and money on their appearances and never stop to think that this obsession could be something that is caused from within.

Are they really happy with themselves? If you are happy with yourself and lead a fulfilling life then that wouldn't give you much time to think about anything else. But then again, I wouldn't hold it against anyone if they decided to have it done. As far as I'm aware none of my friends have tampered with their looks or maybe they just haven't told me.

I don't think people realise the serious consequences of cosmetic surgery. Just thinking about having to go under anesthetic sends shivers down my spine. My belief is that this is what I have got and this is what I must get on with. We are all getting older, that's one thing we can't change.

Every age brings something pleasant and we should be able to enjoy each stage of our lives without being hung-up on the way we look or the way other people see us. I don't say neglect yourself. Shiny, clean hair, nice nails and a good complexion go a long way when it comes to being attractive.

Cosmetic surgery can go wrong and once this happens there is no turning back. Fixing something that has gone wrong can be a traumatising experience, I would imagine. Collagen, Botox, liposuction, these procedures don't sound healthy to me. It's unnatural to say the least.

I watched the Trisha Show the other day and a mother and daughter were on saying that they were determined to have liposuction. This would cost them about £15,000 each. That is so expensive. I could think of so many ways that this money could be enjoyed more. If I had that sort of extra cash I would far prefer to use it to go on holiday with.

In my profession as an actor I know that looks aren't as important as they are in America and other parts of Europe. Here, it is sometimes the opposite. If you are good looking you could struggle to get work. I have been in the industry from childhood. I starred in Bugsy Malone when I was six years old and have been involved in everything from stage to television. In all that time I haven't come across any discrimination as regards an actor's looks.

Of course, you must have a certain aesthetic appeal and that can be achieved the natural way by eating fresh fruit and vegetables and getting enough exercise and fresh air. I have toured recently, spending weeks away from my home in London, but I still maintain a discipline when it comes to my lifestyle.

Don't do drugs and don't abuse alcohol. People who indulge in things like that tend to age prematurely. You can see it in their faces.

My advice to anyone who is considering cosmetic surgery is to look in the mirror and be objective. Ask yourself if something as drastic as surgery is necessary?"

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"Tot Louise's Dancing Feat"

Birmingham Post, Culture Section

 13 December 2001; pg. 14

Louise English, who plays the My Girl part in the musical, can truly claim to have been dancing before she could walk. Her parents sent her to lessons to encourage her to start toddling.

"I couldn't. I think it was laziness. I just used to sit and shuffle. I wasn't making any effort to stand up at all. I was also very fat.

"When I was two-and-a-half, I was sent to this ballet lesson and I picked it up and started dancing. So there was nothing wrong with me after all!"

Louise's mother used to perform in musicals and her father was a conductor. Unsurprisingly, Louise never wanted to do anything else.

But her skill as a ballerina - she even played one in the kiddie gangster film Bugsy Malone - led to her getting a scholarship to a ballet school.

"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."

"My plan was completely different because I always wanted to sing, dance, and act. I never wanted to be a ballet dancer and my headmistress was very disappointed that I didn't continue with it."

Although stage school might have given her a better background as an all-rounder, Louise felt she benefited just as much from the stricter environment.

As well as her stage and television work, Louise enjoyed a brief period as a Benny Hill girl.

She will be appearing in the television tribute to him, The Unforgettable Benny Hill, which is being screened on ITV at 9:30 PM on Friday.

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 "Hi-De-Hi's Peggy Arrives for Panto"

Excerpted from the Lincolnshire Echo

13 September 2002

Louise English, as Snow White, is making her return to the city.

She played Miss Grace in a successful production of Annie last year - a role she will reprise opposite Su Pollard next month.

She said: "I just love Lincoln and the Theatre Royal especially.  It is all so Victorian and covered in the old style red velvet. The sets and the costumes are already starting to look wonderful for the panto and there is so much talent in the show."

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"West End Panto Role for Brush Strokes Star"

HELLO! Magazine

5 January 1991

Playing Snow White in a West End pantomime is like a fairy tale come true for Louise English.

For the talented actress, dancer, and singer is starring in the role for the third time, but this is her first time in London. And Louise is working alongside comedienne Marti Caine, the wicked Red Queen.

"Snow White is a nice story and it's a lovely part to play. I've played it for two years, once in Birmingham and last year in Bournemouth with Marti Caine," Louise told HELLO! "She's a lovely lady, very professional and very funny."

Louise, is best remembered for her parts in The Benny Hill Show. "I worked with Benny Hill for four years," Louise explained. "I appeared in many sketches and sang on the show. We are very close friends. I adore him and he taught me an awful lot about TV and cameras. He gave me a tremendous start in the profession. Benny comes to see me in everything I do."

Louise is also known for her part in the TV show, Brush Strokes, in which she plays Karl Howman's Italian girlfriend, Lucia. A new series is scheduled for January.

And Louise and Karl will be returning to the West End stage for another season in the hit musical, Me and My Girl. The pair have been asked back for an eight-week run at the Adelphi Theatre from February.

For 10 years Louise, who won a scholarship, attended the Stella Mann School of Dancing. At the age of 13 she appeared as the ballerina in Alan Parker's film, Bugsy Malone.

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"How Benny Took an Angel Under His Wing"

By John Brunton

Titbits; 12 March 1983

Hill's Angel Louise Englishgirl Friday to TV funnyman Benny Hillis set for a solo flight! The 56-year-old comic, famous for his earthy humour, wants to organise a TV special for his angelsbosom pals who feature in his smash-hit comedy shows. And he has a star spot for the petite, raven-haired actress.

Benny is planning to draft a pilot show which could turn into a regular series; he says: "I would like to write the first onewhether I have time to write any more will be another matter."

"To start with it would be a one-off, so it's not something I would leap into. It is a question of finding girls as talented as Louise. You can't put a show on with girls who just don't have it in them."

Louisea former beauty queen and dancer with Pan's Peopleis one of the long-standing glamour ingredients of the hilarious Benny Hill programme.

Now she has been drafted by Benny to talent spot a new band of angels who have more than good looks to offer.

Louise says: "He's looking for a certain sort of girl. She must be able to act, do comedy routines and sing and dance."

Londoner Louise is showing the way in Benny Hill's next TV show. She dances and does impressions of comedy stars Leonard Rossiter, Tommy Cooper and Bobby Ball.

Louise is Benny's number one fan. If the "King Leer" of comedy had not taken her under his wing, she believes her career would have failed.

She left Hill's Angels for a time in a disastrous attempt to go it alone. "I was working hotels and nightclubs for a comic who did everything he could to make my life a misery," Louise says.

"He would turn off the microphone in the middle of my song and just generally reduce me to tears every night. I began to think about giving up show businessI had totally lost confidence and was at such a low ebb."

It was then that Benny came to the rescue and offered her a new place among the angels.

Benny Hill prides himself on being able to select beautiful girls who are high-fliers.

He says: "When a talented girl comes along there is a buzz that goes through the businesseveryone wants to know and the door of opportunity opens.

"Take Stephanie Lawrence, for examplestar of Evita shortly to play Marilyn Monroe in a West End showshe was an angel three years ago.

"We knew then that she was a star and she has proved us right."

Now the stage is set for Louise.

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"Louise Is The Pick Of The Bunch"

By John Hannam

Isle of Wight Weekly Post, Stage Talk with John Hannam        

In what must be the country's first 'showcase,' for next summer, local agent Sylvia Thorley, presented an enjoyable evening of varied fare at the Ponda-Rosa, Ryde, last week.

Sprinkled among the many mainland acts, imported especially for the evening, were several artistes who have been summering on the Island.

Ironically, two of these, Jimmy Rivers and Waydon Croft, were particularly well received by the audience of locals, holidaymakers and entertainment bookers. The former in particular, as he was given the difficult opening spot.

For my money the evening was stolen by an 18-year-old beauty with only five months solo experience in the business. Louise English, a former dancer with Pan's People, now presents a vocal act that at this early stage is already showing signs of real professionalism.

Charisma is a word sometimes banded about all to frequently but in Louise's case it was there for all to see.

One of her greatest fans is Benny Hill and already she has appeared in three of his shows with the probability of more to come.

For nine years Louise studied for the world of professional ballet at the Stella Mann Academy at Hampstead. It was lessons all day and dancing between 5-7 p.m. "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!'."

Her year with the dancing troupe included both TV spots and commercials plus a Christmas season with Jimmy Tarbuck.

For the past few months Louise has been appearing in Jersey in a production that toured all the leading hotels. Her future plans may well include her debut in pantomime this Christmas. The likely choice, rather appropriately, being Cinderella.

Looking to the future she would love to work some of the country's luxurious night spots.

Louise was keen to tell me of her real ambition. "I hope eventually to both sing and dance and feature two male dancers in my act." For a girl who had never sung until five months ago Louise has made remarkable strides. With the right guidance and application she must be star potential.

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