Opening night will be a family affair for Linda Robson

Wycombe Swan's 2016 pantomime, Cinderella with, from left to right: Luke Kelly as Prince Charming, Linda Robson as the Fairy Godmother, Louie Spence as Dandini and Sarah Vaughan as Cinderella.
Wycombe Swan's 2016 pantomime, Cinderella with, from left to right: Luke Kelly as Prince Charming, Linda Robson as the Fairy Godmother, Louie Spence as Dandini and Sarah Vaughan as Cinderella.

Linda Robson is about to welcome a new grandchild into the world, and she’s hoping to be around for the birth.

Her daughter’s due date was two days ago (on Monday),so in fact the baby may well be born by now, writes Heather Jan Brunt.

But when we spoke Linda was hoping the birth might not happen until after the 14th when she is due back home from filming abroad with Birds of a Feather.

Star of this year’s Wycombe Swan pantomime Cinderella, Linda is devoted to her family. She already has one grandchild, four-year-old Lila who lives just five minutes away and Linda says if her daughter Lauren and her family moved, Linda would be moving right after them.

Linda lives in London with her husband Mark and their two other children, Louis and Bobbie and they will all be coming to see her perform as the Fairy Godmother, but she’s aghast that they’ve chosen to visit on the opening night.

She said: “There’s 40 of them coming. I think its quite cruel, I think they could have waited until I’d been going for a couple of days before they all turned up. My granddaughter and the new addition will be there as well. I’ll be nervous anyway because it’s the first night, so it’s just an added worry that the whole family will be there. But it’ll be fine.”

In a long panto run there are not many days off, but one is Christmas Day. So will she take the chance for a rest? No.

She said: “I always do the lunch, but I like doing the lunch. Me and Marks and Spencer have got it worked out between us. All our food is ordered from M&S, the turkey is already basted you just have to put it in. I do my own potatoes and we have to have Yorkshires as well, I make my own Yorkshires. I’ve got two vegetarians in the family so they normally have a quorn substitute, that’s Bobbie and Louis.”

Linda lives a hectic life, and in addition to acting and family duties, she often appears on Loose Women, although her appearances will stop for a while once panto rehearsals begin at the end of this month.

For several weeks she also fitted in weekly visits to the set of Strictly Come Dancing to watch her Birds of a Feather co-star Lesley Joseph compete with dancing partner Anton Du Beke.

Linda said: “I am so proud of her, she’s the oldest woman to have ever done Strictly Come Dancing and she’s done amazingly well.”

It’s not something Linda would want to do herself however. “I’ve been asked to do it but I can’t dance. You’ll be pleased to hear I am not dancing in the panto either. There are some people you can’t teach. You’ve either got rhythm or you haven’t and I haven’t got it I’m afraid. I couldn’t remember one routine.”

One thing she can remember however, are lines, and she practices them by taking herself off upstairs with a recorder. “It’s like me having a conversation with myself, because I record the other characters’ lines as well. It’s like listening to a conversation, it sometimes goes in easier that way.”

By sheer coincidence, Linda’s other Birds costar, Pauline Quirke, is also appearing in panto this year in the very same role, as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella in Hayes.

Linda said: “I should think our costumes are exactly the same with lots of glitter and sparkle. She’ll be Fairy Sharon and I’ll be Fairy Tracey, the names of our characters in Birds. We could learn our lines together!”

Cinderella is at Wycombe Swan from Saturday December 10 - Saturday 31. Box office 01494 512000