As the song goes, there is nothing like a Dame - and we quite agree! It's time to introduce you to Dereck Walker, who plays Dame Dolly Donuts in this year's Lighthouse pantomime, Dick Whittington ...
Everyone loves a Dame as actor Dereck Walker knows better than most – he has a long list of panto Dames to his name, including Dame Dolly Donuts in Dick Whittington this year at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts.
“Every Dame is different and they all play a different role depending on what the panto is,” he says, “but the common factor is that they are always man-mad. Dame Dolly Donuts is the same – they’re always looking for the next hunk.”
Dame Dolly does her looking from the stall owned by Alderman Fitzwarren where Dick falls in love with the lovely Alice.
“Well there’s lots of fun to be had with me and dear old Dick. She’s got the cheeky side, has Dolly, there’s a naughty side to her and she probably creates a bit of chaos, but she’s very much a good egg.
“What’s lovely is she’s a great friend of the audience. She is the one who almost takes their hand and leads them through all the adventures that go on, I like to think of her as a bit of a cheeky comfort blanket and if the children get a bit scared at times Dame Dolly comes on and they know they’re going to be all right.”
Children’s TV presenter Chris Jarvis is playing Dick, as well as directing the show. He also co-wrote it with co-producer Peter Duncan. Having the title star in charge of the show is not a problem for the cast, they’re already great mates according to Dereck.
“We met for the first time to have photos taken for the poster and the instant I saw them all I knew it is going to be so much fun, they’re a great crowd of people, which is lovely because you bring that to the show and it comes out on to the stage because everyone is good company.”
It’s not Dereck’s first time in Dick Whittington, but he’s looking forward to helping tell the story in a new way.
“Although Dick is always the same story the telling of it is different so therefore you can bring something different to the role anyway which is always fun for the actor – it’s a fabulous story, lovely story and of course in the second half they get shipwrecked.”
The word is they get shipwrecked on Brownsea Island…
“Oh! Brownsea Island, is that exotic? I can’t wait! Do I need a passport?”