‘We’ve got a good touring family for this show’

The cast of And Then There Were None have a day out at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.  Pictured are Mark Curry and Verity Rushworth with other cast members..
The cast of And Then There Were None have a day out at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Pictured are Mark Curry and Verity Rushworth with other cast members..
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“I’m still a big kid, at 52,” an excitable Mark Curry exclaims, moments after getting off the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Of course, to those of us of a certain age he’ll forever be recognised as a Blue Peter presenter, hosting the kids’ TV show in the late 1980s.

And among his antics there was a famed trip to the amusement park, with co-presenter Yvette Fielding.

The duo met Lillian Thompson, and tried out rides including the Grand National, Flying Machines, Revolution and the then new Avalanche – with Yvette screaming her way around each of them.

This time, Mark was joined by his cast mates of Agatha Christie play And Then There Were None, which runs at the Grand Theatre until Saturday.

“You lose your nerve as you get older,” he said. “And when you have a film crew with you, it’s surprising how much more you’ll be up for.”

She may have been the youngest of the cast, but Verity Rushworth admitted she was terrified of rides and has never even been on a rollercoaster.

She braved the Ghost Train – a rather tame option compared with most rides on the park – with her co-stars for company and was clearly shaken by the end.

The former Emmerdale actress, who played Donna Windsor from 1998 until early 2009 before making a dramatic return last year for a brief spell before her character was killed off, is enjoying life on the road with this touring production.

“I’ve never done rollercoasters, the Ghost Train was a feat for me,” she said.

“We’ve got a good touring family for this production. Mark organises lovely things for us to do, I think it goes back to his Blue Peter days.”

Her return to the ITV soap saw Verity in the long list for the British Soap Awards best actress gong, with voting having closed on Tuesday. A shortlist is to be revealed on Monday.

“I would be so surprised to be on the shortlist,” she said. “I have been off the show since August, so even being on the longlist is brilliant.

“This is completely different, from filming really emotional scenes about leaving your daughter – to a 30s murder mystery.

“It furthers me as an actress doing different genres and periods and types of acting.”

But Verity and Mark aren’t the only well-known faces from the small screen in the cast.

Also appearing are Paul Nicholas (Just Good Friends), Colin Buchanan (Dalziel and Pascoe), Susan Penhaligon (Bouquet of Barbed Wire), Frazer Hines (Doctor Who, Emmerdale) and Ben Nealon (Soldier Soldier).

With the play being a classic Agatha Christie murder mystery there’s not a lot anyone can say about their character, although they do all seem to have secrets which come back to haunt them as the death toll mounts at a remote island hotel.

Joining them for a trip to the Pleasure Beach were Susan and Frazer, as well as stage actor Eric Carte.

A ride on the Steeplechase took Frazer back to his days as a jockey, and the group were surprised at its fear factor.

And he fondly remembers coming to Blackpool at the end of his seasons in the saddle.

“At the end of the flat season, I would come to Blackpool to eat hot dogs and enjoy the rides, after keeping my weight down,” he said. “And I came with the Krankies but they wouldn’t let Janette on the rides – she was protesting at being a grown woman, but was too short.

“A couple of weeks ago I was shivering in Stoke, and now it’s sunny in Blackpool.”

With the sun beaming down, it was a perfect opportunity to settle into seaside life for the week.

“I love it’s kitschness,” Susan said. “And the theatre is brilliant, the Frank Matcham design is a real jewel in the crown for Blackpool.”

* And Then There Were None, Grand Theatre, Blackpool, until Saturday. Call (01253) 290190.