Bonnie Langford



Added 36 days ago. 10 May 2024

Fresh from marking 50 fabulous years of starring in the West End, we had a lovely natter with Bonnie Langford about her remarkable career on stage and screen.

Bonnie’s life on stage began when she was very young

My great aunt was a ballerina who toured the world, then came back to England, and opened a dance school, which my mother then took over. When I was born my two elder sisters were already in theatre school, and so there was lots of dancing within the house! I feel very blessed I didn’t have to decide what to do - it was just part of my DNA! Being on stage as a very little girl in my mother’s dancing school show holding hands with my two sisters - it was such a happy, safe place for me.

Bonnie features in her Broadway debut, Just William series, and Doctor Who

She would soon be catapulted into stardom…

I appeared on the talent show Opportunity Knocks when I was six - a friend of ours worked at the TV station and put me forward for it. After that, I was asked to audition for Gone with the Wind on Drury Lane and I got the part – my West End debut at seven. Then when I was eight, I got a part in a musical in the West End, called Gypsy. I went to the States with that show - so at the age of nine, I was on Broadway!

The bright lights of  the Big Apple made a big impact on Bonnie.

New York was so different to where I was brought up, which was Twickenham and holidays in Bognor. I absolutely loved this mad world that I entered - it changed my outlook on life no doubt about that.

Bonnie has recently returned to ‘Doctor Who’ as The Doctor’s companion Melanie Bush, after first starring as the character in 1986. 

Most jobs that you do become a chapter of your life, and then you move on. But Doctor Who is the gift that keeps on giving. When Russell T Davies asked if I would be part of this new generation, I jumped at it. It has this tremendous love and tremendous following. It’s good to come back to the part in a time when companions are able to bring so much more to the table now than just getting in the way, which was what I was doing in the 80s!

Bonnie’s no stranger to the world of the soap opera either, appearing as a regular in ‘Eastenders’ from 2015 to 2018

It’s very intensive - like a big conveyor belt that never stops. The speed and the quality are awe-inspiring. It’s a great learning curve for all actors and you start to love that momentum. To swap scenes quickly, one minute you’re crying and next minute you’re laughing, and learn your lines - I have such admiration for everyone involved in those shows. You become part of a community not just on set, but outside too. 

You go to the shop and people start talking to you about your storyline and you’re like: “Oh gosh - what’s been shown, what hasn’t been shown?” You can’t give any spoilers away.

Bonnie has since turned her talents to shows such as ‘Dancing on Ice’ and ‘The Masked Dancer’

I was in the first ever series of Dancing on Ice. I wasn’t meant to be in the show at all.  I was a reserve and two weeks before they went live on air, they phoned me and said someone’s injured, you’re going to be in the show full time. I didn’t know what to expect – all I wanted was to get through the first week!

The Masked Dancer was one of the most bizarre experiences I’ve ever had.  You’re not allowed to talk to anyone and absolutely no one knows it’s you. It’s like being part of MI5. I had great friends on the production team who didn’t know it was me, they were just talking to me as Squirrel. I was watching Celebrity Gogglebox a few weeks later and there was Sir Tom Jones watching me on the telly dressed as a squirrel. Me, watching people, watching me on television. Very weird!

Bonnie was also part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee parade.

It was lovely. The spirit and the atmosphere were gorgeous. It was a difficult time with her being so poorly but there were so many notable people there in celebration of her. I remember suddenly there was this rumour: “They’ve put the flags up, she’s coming!” Because nobody thought she would come. And there she was, this lovely lady literally feet from me wearing bright green and doing her wonderful wave. What an incredible lady she was. I feel so lucky that I was on top of the bus!

Bonnie takes part in Dancing on Ice and the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

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