BONNIE LANGFORD has Tea With Wilma chatting about Eastenders and her upcoming show at the Hippodrome Casino


The legendary Bonnie Langford (and one of the nicest people in showbiz) is no stranger to the West End stage having performed in just about everything over the years as well as being a constant fixture on our televisions, appearing on shows like Dancing On Ice and can now be seen as a regular character on BBC Eastenders! For one night only, Bonnie is heading to the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square for a show that is bound to be as fabulous as she is. I caught up with her for a cup of tea and a natter about the upcoming show…..

For those who may not be familiar with your work, can you give me a little run down of some of your career highlights so far?
Well, Wilma, perhaps we should ‘ start at the very beginning’, as Maria would say!! But then we’d be here forever!! I’m blessed to have mainly highlights so I’ll randomly pick some off the top of my head … Gypsy, Cats, The Hot Shoe Show, Spamalot, Chicago, Peter Pan, Eastenders…… Oh dear, it’s getting to be a long list ……

You have been a fixture on our television screens since almost the day you were born and are now back on TV in Eastenders. Were you a fan of the show before now and how did it feel going into one of the great British soaps?
Yes, I was a fan of the show, but watched it at different times over the years …… Mostly when my daughter was little and I would sit down with a cuppa after her bedtime and wallow! She’s 15 now. I’ve always dipped in and out of it, especially during the recent Live week. Now I’m in the show I’m even more of a fan …..not because I’m on screen! But because of the machine that makes it happen. The amount of great quality work from every department on a never ending basis is awesome. I’m sometimes overwhelmed by the constant learning, filming and creating that the actors have to produce day in day out, at speed without rehearsal …..and that’s just one area of the product. Until you’ve been there and watched it develop, you have no idea of the scale, so to keep that going and to the standard and quality they sustain, it’s truly remarkable and sometimes overwhelming. I feel very privileged …and I always get a buzz when the new scripts turn up too!

For one night only you are performing at the beautiful Hippodrome Casino on 31 March. What inspired you to put on a show like this and what can people expect if they come along?
I was asked! And I thought it would be lovely to perform at the Hippodrome as it has glamour and theatre history embedded in the walls. But, moreover, I love music and I do miss it a bit. I’m a rather a juggler and I like to keep life varied and energised. I’m a team player too, so along with my musical director, my friend Winston Rollins is bringing his band so it’s become a bigger show than first planned. I will touch on some of the shows I’ve been in … Gypsy, Chicago, Cats, etc …..and television and film ….. But it’s also about some of the people who influence me in life too …so we have some Stevie Wonder, Petula Clark, Aretha Franklin and a personal tribute to Cilla Black. I can’t fit it all in actually!

Have you got any surprises in store for the night that you can tell me about? #Exclusive
I think I’ll probably surprise myself actually! I’ve done my own show for quite sometime now, but I didn’t want to just churn out the old stuff. It’s important to make it personal, so it’s also important to change songs and stories depending on where you are in life. My views have moved on and so have I. For example, I wanted to do something from Chicago but not all the usual stuff, so I found a song written for the movie, the last song written by the late Fred Ebb ….. Funnily enough, it’s called ‘I move on’.

I’ve got a couple of amazing guests too ….. Here’s the exclusive ……. My dear friend, Anton Du Beke along with another surprise guest soon to be announced! It’s so lovely of them both to spare their precious time to come along.

There are lots of exciting shows coming to London in 2016. What are you most looking forward to seeing?
Oh no, what’s coming?!? I’m missing it all on the square! We were actually saying that we’d like a group outing to Motown. But what else should I see?? Oh, Dreamgirls, I must see that. What else, Wilma??

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
I’ve played the opposite sex! Peter Pan particularly….it’s cool. I like being a woman though!! Don’t you?!?

Can you complete this sentence. People should come and see my show at the Hippodrome Casino because ___________________.
You’ll have ….. A real good time!

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma