What is Diana Vickers doing now?
- Credit: matthewcawrey.com
Diana Vickers has been non-stop busy since her debut on X Factor, where she sang barefoot and stole the nation’s heart
She may not have won The X Factor in 2008, that crown went to the inimitable Alexandra Burke, but Diana Vickers planted herself firmly in the minds and memories of the show’s fans, and launched a career for herself that has showcased her many talents to the max.
‘When I was at school I always wanted to be an actor,’ she says, ‘I loved singing and wanted to do that as well, but I was going to do my A level in drama and had every intention of going to drama school, and then I went to The X Factor and that happened, but even then when I was with my management I was telling them that eventually I really wanted to get into acting, that this was my path and where I saw myself in 20 years’ time.
‘Then I got offered to do the West End, then I got involved in some plays and did a bit of telly... Then it sort of naturally progressed in that way and while I always did the music on the side, it seemed more opportunities came along and I created more opportunities for myself in acting. It’s just been a natural progression.’
Diana has certainly had her fair share of plays, both in the West End and touring. In 2009, before even launching her first album following The X Factor (Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, which when launched in 2010 charted at number one on the UK Albums Chart) she made her acting debut in the title role of a newly revived West End production of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Diana played Little Voice, impersonating singers such as Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf and Judy Garland, a huge role for an untried actor to take on, with the Guardian newspaper writing: “Vickers handles very well the transformation from withdrawn waif to vocal impressionist. She captures the glee of Garland in Get Happy, the boom of Bassey in Goldfinger, and the rolling consonants of Piaf. Vickers takes the stage with confidence, even if we are not surprised by her singing prowess.’
She has since toured with such crowd-pleasing musicals as Son of a Preacher Man and The Rocky Horror Show, combining her acting and vocal talents with great success. Of late, however, Diana has chosen drama over musicals, with a role opposite Shane Ritchie in The Entertainer and now in Dial M for Murder. In this new production of Frederick Knott’s stage and screenplay - made world-famous by Hitchcock’s iconic 1954 film – iTV and stage favourite, Tom Chambers, (Top Hat, Strictly Come Dancing) stars as the charismatic and manipulative Tony Wendice, a jaded ex-tennis pro who has given it all up for his wife Margot, played by Diana. When he discovers she has been unfaithful his mind turns to revenge and the pursuit of the ‘perfect crime’.
‘It’s really interesting; I really like to play Margot. Predominantly the boys have the most dialogue and when I come on I have to give me all in every single scene. But what’s really great about her is that she starts off being this dangerous, flirty, sexy woman; you see her with Max having her affair and she’s a bit of a vixen, confident and playful, and then you see her unravel as she goes through a whirlwind of emotions, paranoia, terror, in fear for her life and then completely baffled by what’s going on around her. At the end you see this woman coming on and she’s hard as nails, completely empty of all feeling. She’s got a lot of colour to her, it’s really nice to play her – she’s definitely not boring.
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‘I really enjoy it all. I get to kiss two gorgeous men on stage, eight shows a week, so that’s quite fun.’
Diana stepped in to take over the role from Sally Bretton, who started with the tour pre-lockdown and has now returned to filming Not Going Out.
‘I only had four days rehearsal before we started,’ she laughs, ‘and so I spent the next three weeks just really learning the part and understanding her, then I felt for the next three weeks I had finally nailed her, then about a week ago I felt a bit tired and was finding it a bit hard, but the really great thing with a touring show is that you get a different vibe in every theatre – a different audience, a different ambience. On my opening night last night, I noticed my performance and that I was saying things a bit differently and being a bit different. There’s always a risk with a play that it can get stale, so it’s up to us to keep it fresh. I’m with a really great ensemble and they really keep me on my toes, too. I love those boys, they’re incredible, they make it a lot of fun for me. Chris Harper, who plays the detective, he is really quite fun in his whole acting approach and constantly throws new things out there and I am like, “oh, here we go. We’re going to go down that road, are we?”
2020 and much of 2021 wasn’t a great time for actors and musicians, yet Diana found ways to turn lockdown into something of value.
‘I can’t really say much,’ she says, ‘but I am basically writing a TV show at the moment, along with writer Matt Tiller, and we have a production company involved and that’s all very exciting.
‘And during lockdown my friend Kiara and I started doing funny videos and songs, and a couple of them went viral and now we’ve been signed to a management agency and we’re doing live gigs. It’s like musical comedy and a bit of stand up. And we have a podcast launching this month, too, Ki & Dee.’
Dropping into Diana’s Instagram feed gives a bit of insight into the lives of twenty-something girls trying to get by. The songs are hilarious, rude, and rather telling.
‘I literally just have to be so honest,’ she laughs. ‘Really, I do feel as if I might be cock-blocking myself slightly, telling it like it is. I wrote one called the Break Up Song and actually had to message my ex, as he follows me on Instagram, and say “FYI, just a little heads-up, you might notice some references here.... So I am kind of exposing some deep, dark secrets, but I think that’s what comedy’s about. It’s relatable and that’s why people really enjoy what we do.
‘It’s good fun, we just have a laugh, have a good time with it and then we were asked to create a podcast, and we’re doing a live show in December, in London. I thought, this is getting out of hand, now – what the hell?’
The weekly podcast will each follow a new theme with each episode, with songs and a celebrity guest.
‘We seem to have got quite a big following,’ she says, ‘with some really fantastic people who will be joining us for a chat around the topic. We will be keeping it quite light and talking about our problems and there’s no holding back, nothing off the table. There’s this one segment where we have a song called Everything Pisses Me Off, and we want guests to just talk about what pisses them off. It’s like therapy...’
It seems we shall be seeing and hearing a lot more from Diana over the coming months, and in a whole new light...
Dial M for Murder is playing at The Lowry from 15 to 20 November, book your tickets at thelowry.com