Jodie’s late Valentine’s day treat back home

Jodie Prenger as Shirley Valentine
Jodie Prenger as Shirley Valentine
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One of the main reasons people fell in love with Jodie Prenger, on the way to winning ‘I’d Do Anything’ (aside from her phenomenal singing voice) was how relatable and down-to-earth she is.

They’re both qualities that Jodie says she shares with the character of Shirley Valentine, as she embarks on a UK tour of the one-character show of the same name.

She told The Gazette: “I do think there’s a little bit of Shirley Valentine in every single one of us and that’s what Willy Russell has mastered. You can tell by the audience because whether they’re male or female, they all have some kind of familiarity with it.”

It’s just more than 30 years since the play first premiered and the current tour is the first major revival since the original production.

On the original touring schedule, announced late last year, the closest performances to Blackpool were at the Lowry. However, six dates have now been added at the Grand Theatre, starting from Monday, September 11.

As a local girl, Jodie is delighted that a Blackpool date has been added to the tour.

She said: “I am utterly thrilled because a couple of my shows in the past haven’t gone to Blackpool.

“I’m pleased as punch. I get to be at home and it’s true what Dorothy said, there is no place like home.

“I can’t wait for people to see it because it’s lovely. It’s a really nice piece.”

Willy Russell is one of the country’s most celebrated playwrights with plays such as Educating Rita, Blood Brothers, Our Day Out, and of course Shirley Valentine.

Speaking of the revival and Jodie as Shirley, he said: “When producer Adam Spiegel introduced me to Jodie Prenger I knew in an instant that here was a formidable actress, one who possessed the grit and the warmth, the drive and the vulnerability, the energy and the heart to make Shirley Valentine really live again.”

Jodie admitted that she was overwhelmed with his comments.

She added: “It’s the most bizarre thing, you still pinch yourself. He’s just the most grounded, loveliest man.

“It’s very humbling.”

Tickets are priced from £22. To book, visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk or call 01253 290190.