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New intake of Calendar Girls

Published 6 October 2009

Actress, television presenter and lingerie model Kelly Brook will play WI member Celia when she joins the cast of Calendar Girls at the Noël Coward theatre from 3 November.

Brook, who takes over from Jerry Hall in the role, joins the cast along with Janie Dee, Arabella Weir, Helen Lederer, Julie Goodyear, Debbie Chazen and Jan Leeming.

Calendar Girls, which began life at Chichester Festival Theatre before transferring to the West End in April this year, is based on the real-life story of the middle-aged members of the Napley WI in Yorkshire who decide to pose tastefully nude for a calendar in order to raise funds in the memory of Annie’s husband John, who died of cancer. Initially intending to raise enough to buy a sofa for the local cancer ward, the calendar raised thousands of pounds and created a media furore which led to their story being made into the 2003 film starring Julie Walters and Helen Mirren and this subsequent stage adaptation.

Brook, 29, is no stranger to posing for the camera, having modelled over the years for various advertising campaigns, including lingerie companies Bravissimo and Triumph, as well as lads’ magazines Loaded and FHM. Her work on the screen includes short stints presenting The Big Breakfast and Celebrity Love Island. She was last seen in the West End in the cast of Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig at the Comedy theatre.

The central roles of Annie and Chris are played by Dee and Weir. Laurence Olivier Award-winner Dee is one of the UK’s most respected stage actresses who has numerous West End credits across drama and musicals including My One And Only, Mack And Mabel, Comic Potential and, earlier this year, Woman In Mind at the Vaudeville theatre. Writer and actress Weir is best known for starring in TV comedy series The Fast Show.

Lederer (Marie) and Chazen (Ruth) are also familiar faces for their comedy television credits; Lederer’s include Absolutely Fabulous and Love Soup, while Chazen appeared in TittyBangBang. She was also recently seen at the Royal Court and Young Vic in Alecky Blythe’s brothel-set drama The Girlfriend Experience.

Goodyear, who makes her West End debut in the role of Cora, is best known as Bet Lynch in Coronation Street, a role she played for 25 years, while former BBC newsreader Leeming, who began her career in the theatre, plays Lady Cravenshire.

Joining the ladies on stage is Coronation Street’s Rob James Collier who takes over from Jack Ryder as the photographer.

The new cast will occupy the Noël Coward theatre until 9 January, when the production is due to move to an as yet undisclosed new home.



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