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Jodie Prenger to perform at the Lytham Festival

PUBLISHED: 20:23 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 20:23 21 June 2016

Jodie will be performing at Lytham Proms

Jodie will be performing at Lytham Proms

Not Archant

Musical stage star Jodie Prenger is heading home for her first visit to the Lytham Festival. She spoke to Roger Borrell

The singer in the starring role of Calamity JaneThe singer in the starring role of Calamity Jane

LANCASHIRE singing star Jodie Prenger has just taken a deep breath after completing a gruelling 50-plus venue tour of the hit one woman show, Tell Me on a Sunday. So will she be hurriedly packing a bag and heading for the Caribbean to put her feet up for a few weeks?

Actually, you are more likely to find her at the small farm she and her chap Simon Booth have near Poulton-le-Fylde. ‘I may have a glass of champagne and relax in my onesie for a while but then I’ll probably be scrubbing the toilet or on my knees clearing out the kitchen.’

Jodie grew up in Blackpool and was educated in St Annes. But wherever she goes – and she has been everywhere from Dundee to Yeovil in the last few months – her heart remains in the red rose county.

She talks with a genuine sense of excitement about a major engagement on August 7 – on stage at the Lytham Proms performing with West End stars and a 60-piece symphony orchestra.

Singing at outdoor concerts is not new for Jodie but the Lytham Festival will be a first. ‘I have never been before. To sing there will be amazing – it’s going to be so much fun. I haven’t performed back home for such a long time. It’s going to be lovely.

‘I have performed at the Olympic Park and at Hyde Park for Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s 60th birthday tribute and found myself doing a sound check just before Kylie Minogue which was amazing, but it will be my first time at Lytham.’

At the start of her tour in Tell me on a SundayAt the start of her tour in Tell me on a Sunday

Jodie was propelled to fame in musical theatre after victory in the TV series, I’d Do Anything, which won her the role of Nancy in the musical Oliver! She went on to enjoy success in a string of box office and critical hits, from the comedy One Man, Two Guv’nors to the lead in the classic musical Calamity Jane. She has also become a familiar face on TV programmes such as Loose Women.

But her Lancashire roots and the fact she started in the business when she was quite young keep her feet firmly on the ground. ‘These days everyone just wants to be famous and have a leg over with a footballer,’ she laughs. ‘The reality is that it’s just hard work and I had a good grounding in Blackpool, the hub of entertainment.

‘I can’t say I grew up in a showbusiness family – I can remember my nan trying to sing along to Shirley Bassey. That was a bizarre thing, I can tell you. I think I’m the only one in the family who can sing a note.

‘But I was always brought up to be grateful and to never forget where you’ve come from. My nan always said it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. You should never forget that.’

Jodie’s warm personality and sharp wit was always going to make her the People’s Favourite on I’d Do Anything but it was another programme, The Biggest Loser, that saw her more serious side.

She started the show as a size 22 weighing just over 18 stone and slimmed down to 9 st 6oz and a size 10. ‘I’ve always had this weakness for champagne and dark chocolate,’ she giggles. Jodie has some forthright views about body image and quack diets, producing a DVD to help others. She has also campaigned on behalf of charities ranging from diabetes to animal welfare.

‘At one stage I was up to 22 stone and I’m never going back to that,’ she adds. ‘I just went a bit crazy and instead of doing something about it I bought a bigger size. Now, it’s everything in moderation…although I sometimes suspect my scales go a little off kilter!’

Animals are one of her great passions and it’s another reason she loves being home. ‘I love dogs – we have two sheepdogs and a lot of hens. My dad came from farming stock so I suppose it’s in the blood. I love them – I just wish I was a vegetarian!’

To find out how you can see Jodie and read more about this year’s Lytham Festival go to lythamfestival.com

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