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An Interview with Charlie Brooks – “I embrace that kind of beautiful-weird in a glamorously grotesque way!”

I was lucky enough to catch up with former Eastenders star, Charlie Brooks, as she plays The Childcatcher in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang UK Tour (England, Wales and N. Ireland). Here’s what we nattered on about!

In your acting career, you’ve seemed to portray the villain a few times, from ‘The Angel of Death’, Beverly Allitt to of course, Janine in Eastenders and now The Childcatcher, what is it that attracts you to the villain roles?

“I’m not sure if I am attracted to them or if that’s how people see me! I actually do think playing those  sorts of roles are far more interesting, it’s fascinating to get beneath the ‘Why?’ they behave a certain way. But I am starting to question if I’m being type casted!”

Seeing as Chitty centres around the flying car itself, what would be another magical power like a flying car that you want to become real?

“Ah, that’s really interesting you ask me that because I actually give this a lot of thought. I was thinking how about if there was a tunnel that acted like a vacuum almost, so it’s like a pod, a bit like the euro star but just quicker. I’m sure we’re not far off of flying cars though.”

Chitty was written by Ian Fleming who also wrote many of the James Bond books. Now if you could be cast in a stage production of a bond film would you want to be Bond, a Bond girl or the villain?

“I suppose I like to play slightly different things, and it hasn’t been done by a woman yet, so let’s go with Bond! Although the villain is always fun.”

Speaking of breaking gender barriers, I believe you are first woman to play The Childcatcher, what is another role that is typically male-cast that you would love to play?

“Ah, you’ve put me on the spot! Bond is the obvious one but maybe because you only mentioned it just now. There’s been a lot of gender swapping in Shakespeare adaptations, which is great. I’ve never done Shakespeare and it’s on my list of things to tick off!”


What can people expect from your role as The Childcatcher, is it all singing, all dancing? And more importantly will you have a long prosthetic nose?

“Haha, no fake nose! I do however have a trumpet-like instrument, which I use to ‘pick up the scent of children’. The audience can expect a song from me, which I was in deep fear about but I am now really enjoying it. I characterise her quite a lot and have given her a back story. It’s a quirky adaptation and I embrace that kind of beautiful-weird in a glamorously grotesque way.”

Best of luck with your first show on Tuesday and I can’t wait to come and watch you in August!

You can see Charlie Brooks, Adam Garcia and Liam Fox in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at The Hawth Theatre, 20th-25th August 2024.

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