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Musical star Jennifer Ellison has swapped Dancing on Ice for Neverland as she takes the title role in Peter Pan. The Scouse beauty spoke to Chris Price.
With that beaming smile, long blonde hair and slender physique, Jennifer Ellison comes across as a carefree mother of one. It’s a useful tool to appear so coy when the question everyone wants to ask at her panto launch is what she knows about a completely different show.
Throughout the summer, Jennifer has starred, to critical acclaim, as Paulette in the UK tour of Legally Blonde alongside Gareth Gates and Faye Brooks, whose relationship has been the subject of some tabloid revelations after Gareth left his wife midway through the run. The pair star in Canterbury’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, at the Marlowe Theatre.
“Oh is that near (Canterbury)? I didn’t know that,” said Jennifer, 29, who has performed at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley before, when she was in Calendar Girls.
“Great. I didn’t even know. Hopefully we’ll get to catch up,” she said, trying to wrap up but nevertheless, she was pushed on whether she had any gossip.
“I haven’t no, sorry. I wouldn’t know,” she said with an innocent glance. That’s that then.
Apart from keeping her nose out of other people’s business, Jennifer, perhaps, has reason to be succinct in her answers. The ex-glamour model has endured two years of press scrutiny about her weight and post-natal depression following the birth of her son, Bobby, in 2010. She is bringing him to Kent for the duration of her five-week run.
“From three months, Bobby was on tour with Calendar Girls,” said Jennifer, who is married to boxer Robbie Tickle.
“He has been all over the country, really. He loves swords and Peter Pan, as well as Tinkerbell the Movie and the TV show Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He is a little bit too young to understand he will be going with me but I know when he comes along he is going to love it.”
The Evertonion also revealed how touring has had an unexpected effect on her son’s development.
“He’s quite posh, actually. There is the odd thing he says which sounds quite Scouse, which I giggle about, but he is quite neutral.”
Having starred in TV’s Dancing on Ice earlier this year, Jennifer is looking forward to being able to go on holiday after her panto run and watch the show from the comfort of her living room.
“Oh God yes – it was absolutely terrifying,” she said. “It is something that I never want to relive again. I absolutely loved it but I will much prefer watching it from the couch.
“It was a lot more demanding than you could ever possibly imagine. Every single day is training and you are away from home a lot, as well as away from your comforts. I was in a hotel for six months, away from my home, my family and my washing machine – the silly little things you miss when you are away like that.”
Another thing she does not miss is her modelling career, something she outwardly shows an indifference towards.
“I got asked to do a lot of it when I was in Brookside to promote the show and I became quite successful,” added Jennifer, still with that smile beaming.
“It was just something which kind of happened, really. Every young girl dreams of doing some modelling but it is something that just kind of came along.”
Jennifer Ellison stars as Peter Pan at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre alongside EastEnders’ Ace Bhatti as Captain Hook, Balamory’s Andrew Agnew as Smee and CBBC presenter Gemma Hunt as Tinkerbell. The show runs from Friday, November 30 to Sunday, January 6. Tickets £14 to £31. Box office 0844 871 7627.
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