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13th June 2002: Hello everyone, 

And a very warm welcome, plus a "Happy New Year". Sorry I've been so long writing an update, but as soon as I finished "Pirates Of Penzance" in Leicester I was whisked off to London, whereupon I repacked my case, finished off my Christmas cards and sped off to Llandudno where I once again got my "Dick" out for several weeks. Once the season ended I hot footed it to 'Campus R. Soles' - the name of my house - and commenced preparations for the second leg of the "Pirates" tour. The second week of which finds me in fabulous Buxton. It's not far from Nottingham, where I was born, so it's a bit like rediscovering long gone memories. We used to come here as a family on Sundays, ostensibly to sight see, but really me dad wanted to watch the cricket. 

Anyway, the theatre is gorge, very intimate and welcoming, and very obviously a source of pride with the locals. Unfortunately the night life was zilch, but undaunted, the cast used their imaginations and created all sorts of after show fun, which is best left to your imaginations! 

Next week finds us In Canterbury - lovely place but I'm not going to the cathedral again. I can't face another candle vigil. Also next week I shall be in a voice-over studio, voicing one of the characters in a series called "Little Robots", a number of whom dwell in the sky, I suppose like "The Clangers". We're doing 50 ten minute made for the Beeb shorts. Don't know when they'll be aired, but will keep you posted. I play 'Miss Noisy' - can't imagine why they thought I'd be ideal. Providing the other voices are Martin Clunes, Lenny Henry, Morwenna Banks and Mel & Sue, among others. Should be fab fun - I really enjoy those sort of jobs. Mind you, I shall be unable to get to London from some "Pirates" theatres, so shall have to record my bits in a studio plugged into london. That's showbiz! 

Am hopefully going to Oz later this year to visit my mate Ray Meacher, who plays Alf Stewart in "Home And Away". For devotees of the soap, Ray has just signed a further three years contract, so you can still get your Summer Bay fix. 

Well, here I am at 'Campus R. Soles', the name of my house in London, languishing like an actress, having the best time. Having finished "Pirates" I'm now having a few weeks of 'R & R'. It's a great feeling not having to constantly be aware that everything you do is geared towards that evening's performance. "Pirates" was so demanding, physically and mentally, that you had to be totally focused. Of course, that's all part of the job, so rightly so, but now it's PART TIME. 

Went to a fab function last week - a party given by a rather good booking agency, to celebrate ten years of business. Very well organised, champagne on arrival, quick photo with the lovely Leslie Phillips, who I've known for years. He's married to Angela Scoular, a great pal from the "You Rang, M'Lord?" years. She played Lady Agatha, who was having an affair with Lord Meldrum. Chatted for ages to another showbiz pal, Vanessa Feltz, who looked great. She's really slimmed down and had lovely long hair extensions woven in her hair. Saw loads of ex-Big Brother housemates and rather a lot of voluptuous young girls exposing their feminine wiles. My friend, Vince, nearly choked on his canapés, which, incidentally, were delicious. Gone are the days of cream crackers with sad-looking sausages. There were mini steak & kidney pies in a dainty dish, followed by bite-sized creme brulee. Fab! 

Then it was an evening at Drury Lane to see the new cast of "My Fair Lady". A packed house gave them a rousing reception, deservedly so. An excellent production. I fell in love with Alex Jennings, who is the new Professor Higgins, great performance. Joanna Riding, as Eliza, is a very accomplished actress and did a splendid job. Although I love supporting my mates, I'm not a very good audience member as I always want to be on the stage, not sat down. And, no matter how good the show, I always nod off for a couple of minutes. I even found myself dozing at a Michael Jackson concert a few years ago. 

Am seeing "Taboo" next week, with me old mate Boy George. I'm so pleased it's a big success for him. By the time you read this I will have been to Gloria Hunniford's tea party, in her lovely big garden in Kent. She's got a lovely sauna and swimming pool, where I went to learn to swim. Disaster! Me arm bands deflated and I sank to the bottom, me skin shrivelled up and I looked like an advert for immediate hair care. So, I've never bothered since. 

Oh, "Little Robots" is going fine. I've done a further eight scripts, with another 40 to go. The producers seem very happy with it and the rest of the cast are having a ball making them. And they look after you, supplying gorgeous sandwiches and fruit to sustain us. 

At the end of July I shall be appearing in a short film called "Looking For Lullabelle", playing Verity, one of the tenants in a peabody flat. A cameo role, it's very funny. As is the whole script, quite touching too. The producers are very confident it will get a showing at a major film festival, so once again, I will keep you informed. 

I'm in talks at the moment with the producers of "Annie", who have put together a short tour. As  I never like to finalise anything until I've signed the contract I won't give you definite details, but if all goes to plan we're looking at almost three months, as from September this year. I shall not, of course, be playing Annie, or Daddy Warbucks, so I'll leave you to speculate!  Next week is the opening of the season at Regent's Par and the "Pirates" cast have been invited to the first night of "As You Like It" and "Romeo And Juliet", on separate occasions, of course. 

I'm quite looking forward to both shows as I'm really not a great devotee of Shakespeare. Indeed, I'm hardly au fait with any of his work, so it will be good for me to broaden my literary education. He's got millions of fans throughout the world, so I figure I should at least pay my respects. There's always the bar and the barbecue if my concentration lapses! 

It's almost a year since "Pirates" started at the same venue, where does the time go? All our lives speed by, don't they? That's why we have to grab every second and enjoy as much as we can. 

As I write this, I'm at a rather wobbly table, listening to Mud's "Greatest Hits" in the garden, with red arms 'cos the sun's been out. I remember when we did "Hi-De-Hi!" we weren't allowed to go berserk with our tans, as Jill, the make-up artist, used to have a terrible time disguising the fact we looked like extras from "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum". 

I'm sorry I haven't kept you posted throughout the tour, but I really will endeavour to write on a more regular basis as I do appreciate all your support and interest. I do want to thank everyone who continues to log on to my fabulous website, beautifully put together by Davie. I hope you agree he does a really wonderful job, putting in time and effort to make it well worth paying a visit. Thanx so much Davie - it's really appreciated. As indeed, is the work done by my mate, Rob, who is in charge of all your queries and administration, so a great THANX to him too. But mostly, thanx to everyone out there for your continued support. 

Have a great Summer and I'll catch up with you soon. 

Muchos Luvos - 

Su x x