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13th August 2003: A big hello, everybody,

I hope you're all enjoying Summer. At the moment, I'm having a socially sating time, as I want to see and do as much as I can before starting work in earnest - well, Lincoln, actually! - Have had a great time recently, catching up with people, doing jobs based from home. We completed the last episode, this series, of Little Robots, including a song 'Anyone Can Sparkle', written by Debbie Wiseman and Don Black, two very accomplished and respected musical forces. A simple, melodic tune and lyrics, it was a joy to do. We managed to get everyone in the studio at the same time, apart from Martin Clunes, who had filming commitments. Lenny Henry and myself had a few harmonies together and we had a really fun time, catching up on news, etc.

Little Robots has been really well-received. The execs are hoping it will be sold to America where animation is the big daddy! So, fingers crossed.

The Weakest Link had me teamed up with mates I've worked with in the past. I think I can safely say we were all somewhat apprehensive at being quizzed by the "Beast in Black" - Anne Robinson. Before recording started, we were frantically placating each other, saying 'If I vote you off, it's nothing personal. Please keep me on the Christmas card list!'

Actually, I was dead lucky. I didn't really get a roasting from Anne. I have to say, although the questions come across loud and clear on the TV, in reality it's extremely hard to hear any questions in the studio. That's why, if you study the programme, you can see quite a few contestants leaning forward, straining to hear what Anne is saying. I think that's part of the show's strategy. You really have to concentrate. I though: 'I'm an actress - get me out of here!'

It was luvly to see Nick Owen, Limahl, Toyah, Bob Carolgees & Spit The Dog - Yes, Anne did get one! - Steve Nallon (Marg. Thatcher impersonator from Spitting Image), Eric Bristow, Linda Lusardi, and one-time partner of Janet Street-Porter, Normski. By the time you read this it will have been shown on TV. So I hope you enjoyed it.

Have just seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as my mate, Gary Wilmot, had his first night as Caractacus Potts. The songs really suit his voice. He's definitely going to enjoy his year in the role. It was also a pleasure to see Anton Rodgers playing the grandfather, and my mate, Derek Griffiths. If you haven't seen it I urge you to go, and I don't say that on many occasions. I really want shows to do well, but I find I'm let down by the standard of too many these days. But Chitty has marvellous production values. I could see exactly what I had spent my money on. My ticket probably bought one pair of shoes - or maybe one shoe!

We were royally entertained in the interval by the show's producer, Michael Rose, and I sat on a chaise-longe that Prince Charles had used a week earlier.

Later that week I went for lunch at The Ivy with the producer of The Vagina Monologues. Teamed up with Tamara Beckwith. Lovely girl, always jetting off somewhere in her role as party organiser etc. for the California glitterati. In the Autumn she'll be in Bermuda - I'll be n Billingham!! I'm going to have to speak to my agent at once! Had a chat with Andrew Lloyd-Webber, who was dining on sea bass. He'd have preferred a table, but... (I know - but I love music hall stuff!!)

The likelihood is I'll probably be doing VAG MON again next June, but I'll keep you posted.

At the moment I'm preparing for the second Annie tour, when I'll be working with the same cast apart from two new members. So I'm really looking forward to that. It's such a popular show and a great joy to perform. There's nothing better than taking a bow at the end from an audience who have really had an entertaining evening and are going home really happy. I'm a sucker for show biz!

Must tell you one luvly comment from a gentleman who came to see VAG MON in Canterbury. He said: 'I've really learned a few things today. Trouble is, at my age, when I get home I'll have forgotten what they are!' Bless him.

This socialising lark is going to turn me into a "humungas Godzilla" person. I've developed a liking for rice cakes, in order to stop me eating whole loaves! Mind you, Annie will turn me into a stick insect. have had luvly times meeting up with mates who I haven't seen for ages. I do feel it's important to keep in touch with people, especially if you're the one who's on tour. Friends are very important and must never be taken for granted. Rather like audiences, really.

Oh, went to see a really entertaining piece at the King's Head. Comedy of Arias - obviously lifted from Comedy Of Errors - It was directed by my old Godspell mate, Andrew C Wadsworth, or Ace as I call him. Very good operatic voices, with great comedy biz thrown in, obviously. It would be fab if it transferred, but as the King's Head is such an intimate performing space, it might lose something of its intimacy in too large a venue. Fingers crossed anyway.

Have recently returned from a favourite place - Bournemouth. I've played there about 20 times and just luv it, although the Royal Hotel has slipped a little. Service can take an hour for a cup of tea! OK if you're dead, as you're in no hurry, but...

Whilst there I stayed with my old mate, Barry Howard, who has a lush flat right near the sea. We had a great scream. We went to see Jim Davidson, who does a great stand-up. I think he would get an earful from Germaine Greer, the wonderful doyenne of feminism, but I would describe him as "earthy", rather like the seaside postcard "have you put it in yet, vicar?" stuff. The audience loved it.

Next night, watched Bedside Manners, a farce with my pals, John Inman, Louise English - who plays Grace Farrel in Annie - Georgina Moon and Robin Askwith, who is now based in Gaza. I would describe the play's content as flimsy, but all the cast are experienced pros and added good visual comedy to a good audience's delight. We all then repaired to a luvly Chinese where loud chat and laughter were much in evidence. Jim Davidson, and Roger Kitter, his support act, joined us after their gig. There was table dancing and I had to get off before I fell off me high-heels!

I returned to London in need of a rest, but alas, more socialising! Went to Joe Allen, a really simple, but down-to-earth showbiz restaurant. Spent ages table-hopping - luv all that - trouble is, it's no good ordering food, there's no time to eat it - Caught up with luvly Bobby Crush and dear Bill Buckley, who wrote the hit song, 'Starting Together'. They're both hideously well and doing very successfully.

Undaunted, travelled to Guildford to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, to see more old mates, in a Ray Cooney farce, It Runs In The Family, an altogether superior script from Bournemouth. Avid theatre goers would know most of the cast: Jeff Holland, David Griffin, Geoffrey Davies, Judy Buxton. great to see them all playing luvly visual biz to a very packed and appreciative audience. I laughed my head off and we all had tea on the terrace after the matinee. As usual, much chat ensued, catching up with each other, etc. I have to say tho', that I'm not very good at being an audience. It never seems to sit well with me, watching. I'm afraid the stage is where I prefer to be, on it, not looking at it! Still, it was nice to be entertained.

My friend, David "Mother" Alder, of The Pirates Of Penzance fame, and I are off to see High Society at Regent's Park Open Air theatre - My Gilbert & Sullivan debut venue - will be luvly to catch up with Ian Talbot, director, and Cathy Jayes, musical director. No doubt there will be much shrieking and drinking and conviviality - well, fab I say! - THAT'S LIFE!

Well, I think I've caught up with all the news I have to impart. Annie, I hope, will once again be a great success, pleasing audiences everywhere. 

My "Wicked Queen" costume is being fitted next week. I rather like being a mythical Alexis Colby!

Just before I go, I want to say a big thank you to you all for surfing my site. Always a pleasure to hear from you. I endeavour to reply to everyone but please understand if I don't get back to you straight away, as when I'm touring things can't always get done as quickly.

Lastly, a fabulous, big, mega thank you to Davie, who has, without doubt, made my site a much-talked about one. Every person who has tuned in has praised it to the hilt, and rightly so. His care, dedication, and loyalty to me cannot be measured, and I am very proud to know him. He and Rob Cope, a dear friend, have a great team spirit. Thanx so much, Rob.

Well, publication calls so will have to sign off. Keep logging on and much luv to you all.

Su x x x