Linda Lusardi's panto family Christmas

PUBLISHED: 11:23 30 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:22 20 February 2013

Linda Lusardi

Linda Lusardi

When former model turned businesswoman Linda Lusardi takes to the panto stage this Christmas she will never be far from her husband and children. Linda talks to Damion Roberts about her family, her new business and her love of Hertfordshire

When former model turned businesswoman Linda Lusardi takes to the panto stage this Christmas she will never be far from her husband and children. Linda talks to Damion Roberts about her family, her new business and her love of Hertfordshire

LIKE most people this December, Linda Lusardi will be spending the Christmas holidays in the warm company of her nearest and dearest. The fact that she will also be spending it on the receiving end of boos and catcalls as she steps into the role of Wicked Queen alongside her husband Sam Kane makes it a somewhat alternative festive period.

This Christmas the actress and former model returns to the camp and highly fun world of panto as the Wicked Queen in a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that is not only directed by and starring her husband in the role of Prince Charming but also features the couples two children, Lucy, 13, who plays The Fairy, and Jack, 10, in the chorus.

Ive been doing pantos now for so many years, Linda says. This is probably the 19th that Ive done and they are so much fun. Its the only type of show that you can do in front of a guaranteed full house. Its hard work as we do two shows a day, six days a week, but its often a childs first experience of the theatre and its very rewarding.'

To be able to perform with my family, too, is wonderful.

Although Linda and her family will uproot to Northampton for the four-week run the panto shows at the Royal & Derngate from December 11 to January 10 the former Emmerdale star is very much a Hertfordshire lady and will be returning down south to spend Christmas Day at her mums house.

Originally from Palmers Green in London, Linda has lived in the south of the county for the past 13 years and loves its proximity to London on the one side but its rolling fields and parks on the other.

I really enjoy living here. Its handy for the M25 and there are lots of beautiful parks in the area that we really like and take the dog to.

There are also good restaurants and shops and if you drive a few minutes up the A10 there are some lovely bits of greenery and countryside. Were very settled and are enjoying life here.

Its also really good spending more time with my family. One of the reasons I left Emmerdale is because it is filmed in Leeds. It became very hard for my children as I was away sometimes six days a week. I value my time with Sam and my children and thats why the panto is great because were all doing it together.

Lucy and Jack appeared last year and adored it. Lucy has a fabulous singing voice and she likes musicals and singing and has already had a song on the music album for the film Charlottes Web which was written by my hubby Sam. Shes doing great.

Linda met her husband at a pantomime in Darlington 15 years ago when he was once again the prince and Linda was Snow White, but ever since then her career has moved steadily away from modelling work and into acting and after roles in The Bill and a year playing Carrie Nicholls in Emmerdale the former model is considered a serious actress.

I think my year on Emmerdale is something which I am very proud of as before that nobody really described me as an actress. Id been in The Bill, Brookside, Hollyoaks, and many touring stage productions including Pygmalion playing Elisa Doolittle but once youve done a soap for a year they say youve earned your stripes.

Although Linda has nothing concrete lined up at the moment she does hope to be on the box next year. In the meantime she has plenty of hobbies keeping her busy, including something rather unexpected.

I do lots of redecorating around the house and people are quite surprised that I like to tile floors and do a bit of building work. Im a hands-on mum. Im quite enthusiastic about it, although I do stay away from the electrics.

She also still manages the occasional stint on the ice following her appearance on ITVs Dancing on Ice in 2008. I go with the kids now and then but its not the same without Daniel (Whiston, her Dancing on Ice partner).

Its enjoyable skating around the ice but its nothing quite like being swung around and doing lifts. The kids are very quick learners though and they really enjoy it and are probably better than me now.

I was a real novice when I began the show. Id been probably once with a friend when I was younger and when I started the show found it very difficult. I really attacked it at first but then I broke my foot and that set me right back about six orseven weeks.

Linda and Daniel went out in round seven, but the foot injury left the skater wondering what might have been: I think if that hadnt happened then maybe I could have gone further.

The skating was very good for tightening up though, as Linda explains: I probably didnt lose any weight but everything tightens up. You get muscles here and there and it was nice to run without the bum wobbling. Its really good for that.

Actress, ice skater, model, pantomime villain, mother, wife, DIY expert. What next? Well, the 51-year-old has now decided to step behind the camera as she embarks upon a career as a professional photographer and is taking bookings for March 2010 for her new enterprise Perfect Frame Photography.

Ive been taking photos for a long time now and really enjoy it. Its been a hobby and now Im doing it professionally. What I am offering is a one on one photographic make-over day for ladies only. We have a champagne breakfast and discuss the pictures we will be taking. I do the make-up and then I take the photographs. It makes for a fun and relaxed day.

As a former model, Linda knows a thing or two about the composition of shots and she also knows something about make-up too.

When I was modelling I also worked as a make-up artist. Many friends and people I have worked with, over the last 30 years, asked me to do their make-up and take their pictures. Theyve been thrilled with the results. There are not many places women can go to get a photographic make-over with pictures that are then retouched to magazine standards.

When I was a model I would sometimes get to the studios early to help set up the lighting and do the other models make-up. My experience in photographic studios, both with the lighting and posing for the pictures, means I can offer the complete package.

I can see how someone will photograph just by looking at them and I get very excited by seeing how beautiful I can make them look. The unique part of the photographic make-over day is the beauty re-touching. You do not have this facility in many high street photographic shops.

But right now Linda is concentrating on learning her lines and getting into character as she prepares for her panto run, with her family stepping closely in her footsteps.


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