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Hayley's on a high

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    Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 13:43

Hayley’s on a high

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Published on Thu Dec 16 13:40:09 GMT 2010

She’s done Dancing on Ice and now the role of Peter Pan gives a former soap actress the chance to fly, says Ian Soutar

BACK in 2007 Hayley Tamaddon flew across the Lyceum stage as the Fairy Godmother in the Christmas pantomime, Cinderella.

It gave her the taste for aerial performance and fostered an ambition to play the ultimate high-flying role, Peter Pan.

“I came in on a line and I remember thinking I would kill for the part of Peter Pan but nobody has ever asked me,” she said.

In true fairy godmother fashion, her wish was Paul Hendy’s command and the pantomime producer has cast the former Emmerdale actress and Dancing on Ice champion as the Boy Who Never Grew Up.

“I can’t believe you have never done it before because you have done loads of pantos even before Emmerdale. You’re funny and quirky with all that movement, it was so right,” said Hendy.

“I always did the part of the princess and then Paul gave me the Fairy Godmother and they said, ‘oh she can be funny’,” reflected Tamaddon. “It was the perfect role for me but this is going to be an adventure – being a boy, a proper little tomboy and I am looking forward to getting my teeth into that. He’s a total livewire, a real bubbly character.”

“Everyone who is coming to see Peter Pan will expect him to fly, so there will be quite a lot of that. I think it is the classic fairy story that everyone knows and loves, the bit where he flies up to the window and the bit where he chases his shadow.”

At the same time there will be the elements of a traditional panto.

Hayley Tamaddon has just finished touring in Spamalot, playing the Lady of the Lake in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail, though she missed the Sheffield week because she took time off from the tour to appear in Kyran Bracken’s Ice Party in her home town of Blackpool.

It was a spin-off from Dancing On Ice, the ITV show in which the actress was among the celebrity competitors, and ended up winning despite not having skated before.

“I have been lucky enough to never really have that much time off as an actress and my Emmerdale days kept going but when the Dancing On Ice came up it was a chance I wasn’t going to miss,” she said. “I got to skate with my best friend of 20 years, Daniel Whiston, and I had the best time of my life whether I won or not.

“It was something that was completely new, I just practised a lot, I think the more work you put into something the better you become at it.”

She agreed that it helped that she is quite competitive. “I don’t think there’s any point in entering a competition unless you are going to try and win it,” she said.

“My heart was in it from day one. And if you last until the end you go straight into the live tour which lasts six weeks.”

It has changed her profile, so does she think she is now more associated with Dancing on Ice than Emmerdale?

“I act, I sing, I dance and now I skate, it’s a mixture of things and it’s hard to label me I guess,” she said. “But the soap star thing, I will always be a Dingle. That’s what got me on the telly and started my career. Before then my background was musicals and I gave that up to do telly.

“Quite a few years ago there was a time you couldn’t do both, now the system has changed and they are looking for singers that can act, actors that can sing which is great.”

Emmerdale brought her to Yorkshire and she still lives in Leeds, although she has been away on tour most of the year.

“I am willing to live out of a suitcase, not everyone can do that, but I want a career and I am willing to work for it. If you love what you do and I do, why not do it all the time? I love to work, I love getting up in the morning wondering what I am going to do today.”

And has she carried on skating? “I try to go skating every week – if I can find a rink while on tour. I took some of the boys from Spamalot along and I expect to go a lot while I am in Sheffield.”

Peter Pan is at the Lyceum until January 9.


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