Aladdin at the Empire: interview with Mark Moraghan
Attended the Press Launch for Aladdin at the Liverpool Empire starring Pam Anderson, Les Dennis and Mark Moraghan. That’s right, the same Empire which in previous blogs I called the ‘ITV of Liverpool Theatre’. Oh, what a hypocrite! (Oh no she isn’t! Etc).
Ah well. It’s the first interview I’ve ever done. Can’t say I was particularly Paxman-esque (not that it would be appropriate for a panto press call but y’know…)
Luckily for me, Mark Moraghan (the scouser off of Holby City) was very nice and didn’t act the diva. Had a bit of a surreal moment when local buffoon Pete Price shouted over to him asking how many sugars he had in his tea. Where’s the glamour?
I was also asked if I wanted to interview Pete but as I’m a) a bit scared of him and b) hadn’t prepared any questions for him, I politely declined. It goes without saying that Pam wasn’t there.
It was an education! Here it is:
So, to get the obvious question out of the way, are you looking forward to working with Pammie? (Anderson)
Yeah, I’ve heard she’s a nice girl and it’ll be interesting to see what her take is on British Panto. She’s also done it before so she knows what to expect. But I’m just looking forward to having a great laugh really. Every day is Christmas day in Panto!
Spending so much time with the same cast, do you ever entertain yourselves by playing any pranks on each other when working?
I just finish Our Day Out at the Royal Court with a load of kids and there were pranks going on daily. The orchestra were the worst, wearing silly hats, showing us pictures on their phones and jumping up/waving around in order to make us corpse (theatre speak for forgetting your lines, dahlings!). You can get away with that sort of behaviour a lot more in panto so I’m expecting a lot of it!
How are you going to feel about getting booed on stage night after night?
Well the more boos you get in panto, the more you know you’re doing your job right! I’ve played this part before in Nottingham with Claire Sweeney and I had a ball going right over the top with it all, so I’ll be doing my best Terry Thomas impression this time around!
Does that mean that when you go home you demand lots of compliments just to cancel out all the negativity you receive on stage?
Ha ha, yes you definitely need lots of TLC after each show…definitely!
You do quite a lot of work in Liverpool. How would you say being from here has affected your career, for better or worse?
Good question. I think that earlier on in my career, I lost out on a lot of work because I was still based up here and very loyal to my agent at the time. I was reluctant to make the move to London and I think it hampered me in a lot of ways; I missed out on a lot of work. But on the plus side, I love coming home. I’m a fierce advocate for Liverpool and I’m proud to be a scouser. I seem to fight my corner a lot more when I’m down there in fact!
Do you think you have to? Is it necessary to convince people that we have a lot to offer up here?
I think it’s nice to be able to prove people wrong. Especially in this game; people seem to have this perception that if you speak with a scouse accent, well that’s all you can do! As an actor your main tool is your voice and if you can’t change your accent then I don’t think you really belong in the business. With TV work you tend to get typecast but theatre opens up a whole gamut of opportunities to change your voice and character, in my experience.
I hear you’re a bit of a crooner as well as an actor. Tell me more about this, please!
Yes, I got together with Watchdog’s Nicky Campbell, who wrote the majority of the tracks on our album as well as providing some backing vocals. We’ve been out gigging all year, doing radio and TV performances to promote it which has been fun.
That seems like an unlikely pairing! How on Earth did this come about?
We met on the BBC singing competition ‘Just The Two Of Us’. I was dueting with Natasha Hamilton from Atomic Kitten and he was with Beverly Knight. We just got talking and discovered our mutual appreciation of swing music. He offered to write me a song, I loved it, we recorded it round at his house, found a studio and made an album! I’m made up with it; we’ve both got the bug.
There was more to this but it was mostly general chit-chat. You know, insider gossip…you wouldn’t be interested. I think I might have called him Paul at the end of the interview for absolutely no reason other than I was a bit nervous. Idiot!
Wish I’d asked Mark if he’d seen Les Dennis in Extras. You live, you learn.