There is no place like home for Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh Butler and her dog Pudsey when they appear at this year’s pantomime at the Royal & Derngate.
She plays Princess Apricot in Jack and the Beanstalk alongside Simon Webbe with the show running from Friday, December 9, through to Saturday, December 31.
Ashleigh said: “This is going to be our fifth pantomime and it is one of our favourite jobs that we do.
“We love the audience and Christmas and the coming together that it brings as a family.
“I used to go to panto with my nan and it is something that means a lot.
“When I was younger I wished I could be the one on the stage but never thought it would be possible.
“It’s really strange but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
And the star, who was born in Wellingborough, is looking forward to performing in the county she was brought up in this year.
She said: “After doing four years of doing pantomime getting further and further away, it will be lovely to spend Christmas at home with my family.
“I’ll hopefully have lots of them and friends coming to watch and hope the audience will get behind me and have a great time.”
Ashleigh also praised Pudsey for an attitude that many other dogs don’t have.
She said: “I have been training dogs since I the age of five and Pudsey was the first dog I did the canine freestyle with.
“He was a natural and loved learning new tricks.
“He also loved the audience cheering for him. He’s the perfect dog.”
But she wasn’t the one who put herself forward for Britain’s Got Talent.
Ashleigh said: “My mum and nan convinced me to go for the show and my mum filled in the application five minutes before the closing date. Pudsey could have walked off the stage but he really liked the stage, the lights, the cameras, the audience whereas a lot of dogs would not really thrive in that environment.
“You’ve got to know what you want, you know what is best for your act. There were things that I wanted changed and I just had to put my foot down, and even more with my mum because I was quite young at the time.
“You just have to trust your gut instinct in spite of people wanting you to change things.”
And Ashleigh nominates David Walliams as her favourite judge on the show.
She said: “David is lovely, he’s very supportive. He is a funny man, hilarious man.”
For further details about the show or to book tickets in advance call the box office on 01604 624811 or visit the theatre website at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.