The greatest panto of them all is on at Blackpool Grand Theatre... Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs.
This year’s pantomime will star Vicky Entwistle (Coronation Street) as the Wicked Queen, and Grand Panto favourite Steve Royle (Britan’s Got Talent, Comic, Presenter) returns as Muddles, to make his annual appearance. The cast also includes Jamie Steen as Nurse and Chris Warner-Drake as Prince Frederick.
We sat down and spoke with Steve Royle about all things Snow White
How many years have you been performing at the grand theatre?
Steve replied saying he could never forget how long he has been performing at Blackpool Grand Theatre as his daughter who is now at university learnt to walk there when she was 10 months old in the corridors backstage at the Grand! 18 years in total. What a career! Steve goes on to say how much he loved the theatre and everything about it - it's his favourite time of year!
What part do you play in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?
Steve goes on to say Muddles is such a fantastic part to play. He bring so much enthusiasm and energy to the stage... which is exactly what we all need at the moment!
Who else is in the production with you?
Steve then talks about how he and Vicky Entwistle, who plays the wicked queen, actually worked together 10 years ago and how great it was to be reunited on the stage. He also talks about how they now have a dame in the production which they didn't have 10 years ago, Jamie Steen who plays the fabulous Dolly, who is nurse maid to their wonderful snow white! He says Ellie Green is absolutely fantastic and a real talent especially with it being her first professional booking. They also have Chris Warner-Drake, fresh from the west end. Steve says he is their very tall, handsome prince who plays the part perfectly. Steve then goes on to say how fabulous the seven dwarfs are... He did say we was lucky to see them on stage with all the covid business going around.... especially sneezy!
What made you want to get into acting and stand up?
Steve tells us how when he was a kid he performed in the school productions then proceeded to go onto Oldham Theatre Workshop which was a local theatre school near him. This is where Steve's love for theatre developed. Steve goes on to say how he went off to university after this and studied economics and social history... he was full of surprises! When Steve finished university he was itching to get back into the performance world so he learnt to juggle to improve his skill set. He says the juggling took over then the comedy took over from that, it took 15 years before he was back on the stage owning his craft!
Why did you first decide to audition for Britain's Got Talent?
This is a panto related story Steve says, he wanted to celebrate 30 years since his first professional job. He was also going to be performing in The Grand's pantomime of Cinderella and wanted to give it a boost by appearing on television! He says he genuinely never expected to go so far.
How did it feel to reach the final three of Britain's Got Talent?
Steve says it was just incredible. He never expected to get as far as he did and was extremely grateful to everyone who believed in him and voted! Steve shares a WhatsApp group with the other BGT finalists where he keeps in touch with them. They are all really good friends.
What was your favourite part of the competition?
Steve's favourite part was in the semi final when Alicia Keys believed his joke when he mentioned he hadn't been able to leave his house in 3 months. Alicia said 'aww' not realising no-one could leave the house as we were all in lockdown! Steve was laughing so much when she had realised what she had said. Another moment was when Steve fell off the stage, looking up and saw Ashley Banjo and David Williams beating the table laughing so hard.
How have you found working with the new Covid Restrictions?
Steve says sometimes it can be frustrating as he loves meeting new people and enjoy after show drinks and he has had to tell people he can't have pictures or talks with them due to the spread of the virus. We can imagine this being frustrating for any performer. He does say most people are very understanding and he is just so pleased to see theatres full again even if it is mask wearing. He says it's not nice not being able to see the smiles of everyone's faces but as Ken dodd used to say "The eyes are the window to the sole".
Do you have any advice for aspiring actors and comics?
He says for comics every time that confidence is key and that's what Steve was determined to put across during his time on BGT. Just believe in yourself. If you have any doubts for some reason as a species we can suss it. Audiences can tell if you are a little unnerved. So confidence is the key to everything and another one he mentions is to always look people in the eye.
Steve says he remembers when he performed Phoenix Nights live show and the one miserable person in the audience. There could be 15 thousand people loving it but you will always notice the one person who doesn't. Try not to think too much into that and just enjoy yourself.
Another top tip is not to rush, Steve says don't be tempted to just get through your lines as quick as you can, enjoy every moment because a lot of the time your not on stage long and you want to make the most of it. So enjoy every single line and every single moment!
Who makes you laugh?
This question had Steve thinking... he goes on to say how he remembers doing the comedy circuit with Lee Mack and how much he made him laugh back them. Steve says how he is lucky enough to call Peter Kay a friend and finds him absolutely hilarious and when he has phone calls with him he feels like he is in his own private show. Dave spikey is another great comic. Steve says it tends to be the acts which are very different to himself which he finds the most comedic, like Gary Delaney. He does go on to say that Lee Evans is probably his number 1 idol!
Steve pays tribute to Bobby Ball who sadly passed away. Steve was lucky enough to do the Bobby Ball tribute which he says was amazing as Bobby Ball was such a naturally funny man.
What is your favourite joke?
Steve says his favourite joke at the minute is his Mancky Monkey joke he is currently using in Snow White - 2 Monkeys in a bath, one says to the other 'oo oo ahh ahh' and the other one says well put some cold water in it then! Steve says this is still his favourite joke of all time.
Steve was a fantastic gentleman to talk to over the phone. He is performing as Muddles in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs this Christmas period at Blackpool Grand Theatre. You can purchase tickets here.