"Frosty knickers" takes to the stage in panto

Anne (left) and co-star Vicki Michelle
Anne (left) and co-star Vicki Michelle
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Known as The Governess on ITV1’s quiz show The Chase and nicknamed Frosty Knickers by its presenter Bradley Walsh, Anne Hegerty takes to the panto stage for the fourth time this Christmas.

Making her Southsea debut, she will be the evil Blackweed in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Kings, from December 6-January 1.

“I did my first panto at Christmas 2014 when I played the evil stepmother” Anne says. “I always thought I would really like to do panto.”

And when the chance came, she took it.

“I was asked if I would like to be in Cinderella, and it was an instant yes.

“I just liked the idea of challenging myself to do different things. On the show, I am me being me, using my own quizzing abilities and a little bit of acting ability, but I was wondering if I could do a little bit more, if I could do something where I am not exactly me.

“And not everybody realises that the day-time Chases, the normal Chase shows, are done without an audience.

“I was thinking it would be good to get in front of an audience.”

Inevitably perhaps, Anne’s first panto was a steep learning curve.

“I thought that learning my lines would be the most difficult thing, but it wasn’t. It was the fact that you are not on telly, that you have got to do everything big.

“There is no point trying to be subtle – not that I am subtle anyway. You have got to remember to be really big on stage.

“But everyone was very nice about me. Everyone was saying ‘It’s that lady off the telly!’, and as a panto performer, that’s what I was, ‘that lady off the telly!’ But I was fortunate to be surrounded by some excellent professionals, as I always am. And I learnt so much from it.”

She started acquiring all the necessary skills.

“I learnt about stage presence, about stage craft, about how not to upstage other people and about how to understand the fact that I absolutely can’t dance. But I did get to sing in front of an audience for the first time since I was at school, and I hope I get the chance to sing again in this one.

“And I certainly did find myself thinking that if I did get asked to do more, I would.”

She returned for her second panto last year, and then she did her third earlier this year, a touring Easter panto.

“I probably won’t do that one again because that’s when The Chase Australia really want me to be out there. But this one now is my fourth. I don’t really think I have got a preferred panto. I have not done enough of them.

“But I really couldn’t see myself being Abanazar in Aladdin!”

Blackweed this year is certainly the baddie, though: “I was the baddie in Jack and the Beanstalk last year as well, but that one was a character called Fleshcreep. I am not really sure yet what the difference will be with Blackweed this year. But it might be nice to be the good fairy one day. I would see myself as being more of a Professor McGonagall type fairy, though!”

Inevitably, The Chase will come into the performance to some extent.

“The character of the Governess belongs to ITV and the show belongs to ITV, but I created the character and there are bound to be some Chase jokes!”

Tickets for panto at the Kings, Southsea, this Christmas are available on 023 9282 8282.

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