Joanna brings festive spirit to Whittington

editorial image

SHE made her name in the Wales meets Essex smash-hit comedy Gavin and Stacey, but now the lady who made Stacey a household name, Joanna Page is stepping out in panto again.

If she drives at the same pace that she talks, Joanna could give Jenson Button a run for his money on the racetrack.

She is chattering in top-gear, permanently.

Affable Joanna is also as bubbly as a bottle of the proverbial, and a sucker for all things festive, including panto, naturally..

“It’s so lovely because it is soooo Christmassy,” she starts. “It is also the only time in my career that I get to sing and dance!”

Dick Whittington – also starring former A-Team actor Dirk Benedict and Britain’s Got Talent finalists Stavros Flatley, is bringing seasonal cheer by the bucketload to Milton Keynes Theatre.

“I can’t believe I am working with Face! He’s a legend. I had a massive crush on him in The A Team, and now I am actually working with him,” she gushes.

“The company spends so much time together that you get a real family feel, and there is nothing quite like seeing little girls dressed up with their little wands in the audience. It is utterly adorable.”

Although the panto is a lot of fun, the schedule of two shows a day for a six week stretch is a tad gruelling.

Commuting would only be a nightmare. So Joanne isn’t.

“I am going to have a flat here from the first day of rehearsals – my mum and dad are going to come up and stay with me. My husband James works on Emmerdale which is filmed in Leeds, but they have a two week break for Christmas so he will be coming down too...

“And we will have the dogs...”

Yup, the dogs. Pooch-power rules so far as Joanna is concerned, and her Jack Russell Daisy is pampered...and then some.

Daisy will be joined by her parents’ Jack Russell Scamp for the holiday too: “I will be smuggling them into the theatre!” she says with a twinkle in her eye.

“There was a surreal moment last year when I came off the stage dressed as Cinderella and went to walk into my dressing room and Michael Aspel was standing in the corridor stroking Scamp and Daisy....”

There is a maternal-sounding bond where Daisy is concerned. And Joanna isn’t about to disagree: “I feel like I have given birth to her,

“I absolutely adore her!” she agrees.

“For Christmas, I usually get Daisy a headband...She will probably also have a jumper, a stocking and then lots of Bonio’s and probably a pigs ear to chew, a new lead and collar as well...

“And she got a scarf last year, and I knitted her a blanket and embroidered Daisy in pink in it.”

See, she’s daft for her doggies!

Inbetween stage-stepping and bringing festive cheer to the new city, there won’t be much time for putting her feet up, but Joanna isn’t doing a thing on December 25. She has it all planned.

“On Christmas Day I will sit down, have some Mulled Wine, sit on the sofa with the dogs and let everyone else look after me.

“They can feed me and do everything – I’ll not be moving!”

To book tickets for Dick Whittington, call 0844 871 7652.