PUBLISHED: 15:02 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:02 30 September 2020
The former Bond girl is making her third panto appearance at Windsor this Christmas and cannot wait
“I was here earlier in the year as well with The Cat and The Canary touring production,” she said. “I really love Theatre Royal Windsor because it is so beautiful and so traditional, the atmosphere is great and I know audiences are going to love Cinderella as much as the cast. It is going to be fun as all pantomimes should be. I have been looking forward to it.”
Britt is indeed no stranger at Windsor or to the county in general and is delighted to be back.
“I love Windsor, it is so very British with the beautiful castle and the river,” she said. “I just love it and, in fact, I have travelled all over the county and Berkshire is very special indeed. It has all the qualities, the beauty and the history that has made Britain what it is.”
Britt is clearly enjoying her time on stage but that is not how working life began for her.
“I never started out to be a stage actress and when I first did it some years ago, I was well-known for being in films,” she said. “I was terrified that it would all go wrong when I first stepped out on stage to act in front of a live audience. I still get nervous now of course, but I am loving it.”
Britt has had quite a career – quite a life in fact – right from the day she was born in Stockholm in October 1942.
“I am not going to tell you I had an unhappy childhood, I certainly didn’t,” she recalled. “I was very happy, I had wonderful parents, a nice home and I cannot remember any family trouble, ill-health or anything. It was great.
“I loved animals and still do and I thought that I would like to become a vet, but then I also liked the thought of maybe being in films. I used to be told when I was a teenager that I looked like Brigitte Bardot and because of that I used to get offers for photo work. I think it was that which really made up my mind that I would like to work in the movies. I didn’t really go for a career on stage at that time – just movies, although I did think about it because I had been to drama school for two years after I finished school when I was 17.
“I toured with a kind of variety show for a while and picked up some film extra work. That was exciting because in Sweden everyone loved the movies and if you were in films that was very special even if you only had a fleeting moment on screen. The screen had more prestige than the stage. One of the films took me to Rome. The next thing I knew, I had a contract with Twentieth Century Fox and I was on my way to London.”
The move to London proved to be life-changing both on and off the screen and, of course, was a gateway to the movie world of America.
Britt’s catalogue of film successes is almost like a movie directory and she has worked with countless international megastars. She still receives shoals of fan mail although she has been less busy on the movie studio in recent times, but has more than made up for it by being in demand to appear on stage.
“I know I am very fortunate to be able to do both movies and live performance,” she said. “I have learned a lot in life and I am still learning. I have learned that if you are looking for the ideal husband you will look forever. If you are looking for the ideal film to come along you will never work.
“I also know I was lucky to be born when I was and fit the ideal at the time. I am pleased with what I have done and I am very happy when someone says: ‘Oh yes, you were a Bond girl, weren’t you?’ Yes I was and very proud of it. It is a title of honour. I hope I am always thought of as Britt Ekland – stage and film actress and Bond girl.”
And now you can see the famous Bond girl in Windsor’s Christmas panto...
“I didn’t know what to expect when I was first asked to do a pantomime some years ago. Everyone told me it would be good fun but it was more than that. It was such great fun, no two performances were exactly the same and the audience reaction was fantastic,” she said. “I love pantomime and I also enjoyed very much being in stage comedy. I did Run For Your Wife with Robin Askwith, Eric Sykes and Ian Lavender. That was so good. Being in pantomime with Kevin Cruise and Steven Blakeley will definitely be fun and, of course, I shall also be on the same stage as a great legend – Basil Brush!
“Cinderella is the best of pantomimes but this one will be even better because it is in the beautiful and magical Windsor Theatre Royal. It does not get any better than that! Being in Windsor is as good as being in Hollywood – and I really mean that. Windsor is just as famous and is Royal. I like the whole Hollywood thing, it is fun and making movies is fun too. I have been fortunate to appear with so many great actors and actresses. In The Night They Raided Minsky’s I worked with one of the funniest men I have ever met – Norman Wisdom. I knew of him, of course, but working with him and spending time with him was fantastic. He was very, very funny and would fool around all the time although he took his work seriously and would suggest improvements all the time. A brilliant man who also appeared here at the Windsor Theatre Royal quite a few times. I am sure he loved this theatre as much as me.”
Cinderella at Windsor Theatre Royal runs from Friday, 27 November 2020 to Sunday, 10 January 2021