EastEnders star Charlie Brooks enjoying Crawley panto

After making her panto debut last year as the Evil Queen in Snow White, EastEnders star Charlie Brooks is back for more.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 8:24 am
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 8:29 am
Gemma Hunt (Fairy Bowbells), David Ribi (Dick Whittington), Charlie Brooks (Queen Rat)

Her second panto brings her to The Hawth in Crawley this Christmas for Dick Whittington (December 6-January 5).

Once again, she is playing the baddie, Queen Rat.

“Being a baddie is all I am good for!” she laughs.

She admits she has never seen Dick Whittington in performance before, but comes into it full of confidence, having thoroughly enjoyed her first-ever panto last year.

“I had the best time.

“It was wonderful. I just loved it.”

And her ratty ideas are taking shape: “I want Queen Rat to be dirty, like she is straight out of the sewers. I want her to have a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean.”

She is expecting a bit of leeway to develop the character: “(Producers) Evolution are very good about that.

“We will just see what happens when we get into the rehearsal room. We will see what magic emerges!

“I was brought up on panto. I went to panto when I was a little girl and when I was grown up, I started taking my own daughter.

“Panto is the best time. It is really good for the community. It brings everyone together. It is a really lovely space. Pantos can be hard work, but I had such a good time last year.”

Charlie rose to prominence playing the role of Janine Butcher in BBC1’s flagship series EastEnders. Her portrayal earned her National Television Award nominations as both Most Popular Newcomer and Most Popular Actress, alongside numerous other nominations and wins.

“I was 17 when I joined EastEnders.

“It was very daunting, but it was a brilliant start to my career. I learnt a lot. I was definitely learning on the job. I went in and did four years and left and came back and left and came back. I have lost count really.”

As for a return: “Well, you would never say never.”

Charlie’s other extensive television credits include: Robin Hood, Love Soup, Angel of Death and Bleak House (all for BBC), Suspects (Channel 5) and Wired (ITV).

On stage, Charlie received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire (Curve, Leicester) and as Sandra in Beautiful Thing (Arts Theatre, London and national tour), among others.

Charlie’s most recent credits include Teresa Phillips in the National Tour of How The Other Half Loves, Tina in Jimmy McGovern’s Moving On (BBC 1), short film Fog under the Oscar award winning team Film London, and Vida in Tightrope (BBC Radio 4).

As herself, Charlie has appeared on numerous television shows including: The Chase: Celebrity Special; Celebrity Juice; Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special; Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule; Loose Women, and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, which she won in 2012.

The show also features Gemma Hunt (CBeebies’ Swashbuckle), David Ribi (CH5’s Milkshake), with Crawley favourites, the Michael J Batchelor and Richard Franks.

Once again, the show will be written by Paul Hendy, and produced by Evolution, the same team behind last year’s panto hit, Aladdin. Tickets www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk.