Wishing she was a bad neighbour

By <b>Ian Dipple Thursday 14 August 2014 Updated: 15/08 09:07

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Buy photos » Anne Charleston is playing the Fairy Godmother in this year’s Palace Panto. Picture by Marcus Mingins 3314012MMR

FORMER Neighbours’ star Anne Charleston admits she’d rather be the villain than the hero as she prepares to star in this year’s Palace Panto.

Known to millions as Madge Bishop, she spent many years in the hit Australian soap trying to keep daughter Charlene - played by Kylie Minogue - under control and she will need all her mothering instincts as she tries to save the day as the Fairy Godmother in this year’s production of Cinderella.

But with more than 20 panto appearances under her belt, Anne told the Standard while it was nice to be cheered she would rather be booed.

“I prefer being the bad characters but no one lets me play them anymore,” she said.

“I love pantomime because it introduces children to the theatre and you are building the audiences of the future. I love how they already know the tradition of it all - when to boo, when to say ‘it’s behind you’. Pantomime really is different to any other kind of work.”

Since leaving Erinsborough for the second time in 2001, Anne has starred in other television soaps including Emmerdale and Crossroads, appeared in several stage shows including Calendar Girls and is currently performing two shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before heading back to Australia to appear in a special for Neighbours’ 30th anniversary, which it is rumoured Kylie will also be returning for.

But as Madge was killed off when Anne left the show it’s not clear how she will be reintroduced.

“It will be nice to see everyone again Smithy is coming back (Ian Smith who played Harold Bishop) and Tom Oliver (Lou Carpenter) will be there but nothing’s been confirmed yet,” she said.

“People do still call me Madge. It used to irritate me but you learn to live with it.”

This year’s Palace Panto is already proving a hit with ticket sales outstripping last year’s production of Aladdin.

Cinderella takes place between Monday, December 8 and Sunday, January 4. To book call the box office on 01527 65203.

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