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Jennifer Ellison

April 2009

Jennifer Ellison has joined the cast of Jeff Wayne's stage version of The War Of The Worlds.

Have you seen the War Of The Worlds show?
I've seen the show on Sky but I've never seen it live, no.

I've seen the show twice in Nottingham and it seems that there will be a lot less work for you to do than in, say, Chicago .
Yeah, I think I'm only on stage for about 15 minutes. Jeff's changed the end so all the characters are part of the end now, so I'm on a little bit more than normal. It's not as demanding as Chicago I don't think.

So what do you plan to do when your backstage? Are you a Twitterer or a Facebooker or will you be watching a film or sleeping?
(Giggles) I used to be a Facebooker but I actually had to stop myself because my whole life was revolving around it. I kind of made the decision to deactivate my account and get some work done.

Have you tried Twitter yet?
I've never been on Twitter, no, but that's the new big thing, isn't it?

Yeah. Jonathan Ross and Phillip Schofield do it but there are a lot of people on there who are a bit dull.
Yeah, I can imagine. To be honest with you, my (Tweets) would be a bit dull so I think I'll stay off there otherwise people will be like 'that Jennifer Ellison, God how boring is she?'. I'm just cleaning my house, going to Asda...

What have you been up to so far this year?
I was in panto with Cilla then I went straight into Vagina Monologues. I'm in the final stages of opening my own Fame Academy in Liverpool so I've been really busy with that.

How different is that going to be to Paul McCartney's LIPA?
LIPA is more about songwriting, bands playing instruments and stuff. This is going to be for performance so we're going to do a lot of modelling, singing and dancing. We're going to be doing more like West End stuff rather than you know, creating The Wombats or whatever.

There's a new culture of wanting fame without talent but you're after those who can sing and dance?
Exactly. I haven't got a family in the industry. You know, my dad's a taxi driver, my mum's an administrator and nobody gave me a foot in the door or gave me help. Everything I've achieved, I've achieved off my own back and hard work. So that's what I want to teach to the kids.

In The War of the Worlds , are you going to be doing a strong Scouse accent as Beth?
No, I'm going to be doing RP [received pronunciation]. I don't think it would really work in Scouse.

How aware were you of the whole project because you were born after Jeff's album was first released?
My dad was a fan and he always had the soundtrack playing so I've kind of grown up with it. I've never actually paid much attention to it 'cause you know, being a young girl I was off out dancing and doing my own thing. But it's been a part of my life so to end up doing it – it's a bit surreal, to be honest.

Your dad must be well chuffed that you're going to be in it.
He is, yeah. I didn't actually realise what a following it's got. It's crazy and as I say, people go back and back to see it. I mean I did a tour of Chicago and everybody knows Chicago, it was in all the big theatres but it didn't sell out many dates. But War Of The Worlds is selling out. It's totally amazing. I've never had such a response off the public. There are people coming up to me saying 'Oh my God you're doing War Of The Worlds'. I'm shocked what a big part of people's lives it is.

It's a unique show and people keep going back because Jeff Wayne improves it each time, in terms of the technology.
Yeah, I totally agree with that. And also it's got a timeless, classic soundtrack and when you hear it all played live, it sends shivers down the back of your spine.

Do you believe in aliens? Do you think there's life out there?
I've been asked this before and it's come back to bite me on the bum. I went on this show and this guy read this quote out from one of the newspapers and started asking me all these Nasa facts. He was obviously an alien expert and I was like 'Oh my god, just because I said that I believe in aliens, does not mean I am a Nasa expert'. I mean, 'Do you know anything about radio frequency and bloody transmission just because you're a DJ? And he was like 'no'. So why should I expect to know anything about aliens? I'm doing The War Of The Worlds, I'm an actress and singer. That doesn't make me an alien expert (laughs). But yeah I do believe in aliens because I just think, it's such a huge space with so many stars and solar systems, that it would just be a bit naive to think we're the only planet that has life on it.

When you were here with Chicago in 2006 did you go out in the city much?
I did. I went into the centre with the cast of Chicago. You've got all the dancers and stuff so you're out every single night. So yeah we definitely got to see Nottingham and I actually really, really like Nottingham. It's a great place, the clubs are great, the bars are great, the restaurants are great. And Claire Sweeney was doing panto there the year I did Chicago. It was lovely, we had a really nice time.

Since winning Hell's Kitchen have you done much cooking?
Oh God. yeah! I love cooking now. Honestly. People don't believe me when I tell them but I went from not being able to boil an egg to doing three weeks' training with Gordon Ramsey. And to work in an actual restaurant, even just for a month... the experience was incredible. It's something that I absolutely love to do now.

Are you doing a film called The Codfather with Rhys Ifans?
Yeah, I think so. See what it is, especially now, getting the funding for British films is really difficult. So you get cast for all these films and a lot of the time you are just a name. People are reluctant to put money up for films. Especially with the tax situation. People are getting taxed on their profits now so it's difficult getting British films made to be honest. Like with The Cottage, I got cast for that about five years ago and it took them all those years to actually get the funding.

I'd read that you were worried what your mother would think when she saw the film.
Yeah. Every other word is ****. I was just thinking 'Oh my goodness what am I going to do when my gran comes to see this?' But she thought it was great, she just laughed.

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds Live Stage Tour, Trent FM Arena, Wednesday June 17, £41.50 – £55, 08444 124624,

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