Latest articles from Rachel Banham

Raising funds for a statue in memory of "lovely" Roy Hudd

When Roy Hudd died just a few days before the first lockdown, it wasn’t possible for all his fans and friends to celebrate his life. Now that’s set to change, as his widow Debbie has launched a campaign to raise money for a statue in his memory.

Paul Nicholas: Happy to be back on stage in East Anglia

Having taken part in the BBC TV series The Real Marigold Hotel and The Real Marigold On Tour, seeing what it was like to be an older person in various countries, Paul Nicholas is delighted to be taking to the stage in a new play - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The production, at Norwich Theatre Royal from October 25 to 29, is a comedy about taking risks, finding love and embracing second chances, even in the most surprising of places. Based on the Sunday Times bestseller which inspired one of this century’s most treasured films, it takes the audience on a journey to India with an eclectic group of British retirees as they embark on a new life. Paul says: “I think it will resonate with a lot of older people. “It’s funny, well written - all the quirks and the different attitudes that various old people have surface throughout the play. “People will recognise themselves, I think, particularly older people, in this play. “Having said that, I think it will appeal to a lot of younger people too because it really is a very interesting way of looking at what it’s like to be an older person. “I think there’s a lot for everybody to enjoy in this play.” Paul has performed in Norwich a number of times over the years in various musicals and he’s delighted to be back at the Theatre Royal. “It is a lovely venue,” he says. “I’m looking forward to it and it’s a nice place to visit.” Although Paul has worked extensively in theatre, he is known for his TV roles too, including playing Gary Sullivan in BBC TV’s EastEnders. “It was a great thing to do and it is an institution,” he says. “It’s one of those things that you need to tick that you’ve been in, I think, so I had a brief time in there and it was enjoyable.” He also played Vince Pinner in BBC TV’s Just Good Friends, which was written by John Sullivan, who also wrote Only Fools and Horses. “As a performer, as an actor, you’re kind of waiting for something really good to come through your door, land on your doorstep, and that was the case with that,” Paul recalls. “Really up until that point I’d only really done musicals, so it was a lucky break for me. I got the script through the door, picked it up, read it and thought: ‘This is gold dust. This is a great show’. “It almost instantly became very popular. People took to it very quickly and that’s a tribute to John’s writing.” Today, Paul remains busy. His second autobiography, entitled Musicals, Marigolds and Me, was published last year. He also released a box set of three CDs, entitled Paul Nicholas Gold. Now he’s looking forward to taking to the stage in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. “It is important, I think, if you’re able, to keep occupied and to be interested in what you’re doing,” he says. “I think it keeps you young, it keeps you active and I think work is a wonderful thing if you’re able to do it. “I’m very lucky to have been offered it, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.”The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is at Norwich Theatre Royal from October 25 to 29. Call the box office on 01603 630000 or visit: Paul Nicholas Gold – a set of three CDs - is out now.

The Norfolk charity working to rehome greyhounds

If you’ve ever considered offering a home to a greyhound, but didn’t because you thought it would need a lot of exercise, it may be time to reconsider... Norfolk Greyhound Rescue says that a hound just needs a couple of walks of about 20 minutes each day and a probably the chance to run off-lead three times a week or so. Their running (zoomies) sessions take just two to five minutes before they are ready for a snooze. Hayley Pattrick, who runs the charity with her husband Richard, says: “Everyone has a misconception of what greyhounds are. “When they see them, they see them on the track and they’re muzzled. Most people think they need loads of exercise. And they don’t. They are a five-minute run around the paddock and then they’re done – then they will sleep for the rest of the day!"