Take a good look at 30 million minutes of Dawn..

Comedienne Dawn French appearing at Blackpool's Grand Theatre on September 3 and 4
Comedienne Dawn French appearing at Blackpool's Grand Theatre on September 3 and 4
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Although Dawn French was apprehensive about embarking on her first one-woman tour, 30 Million Minutes, once it was under way she even soldiered on through broken ribs.

Dawn, 56, was playing with family on the beach near her home in Cornwall, when she ‘heard them pop’.

But, as the adage goes; the show must go on, and she continued with three weeks of shows before taking a scheduled break for August.

She’s back on the road in Leeds on September 2, and takes over Blackpool’s Grand Theatre on September 3 and 4.

Talking about the nationwide, 60-plus date tour, both excites and terrifies in seemingly equal measure.

“I’ve just eaten a little bit of the cushion with my bum thinking about it,” she said.

“I’ve always wanted to [do it] and I think I’ve dodged it a bit. Because I’m aware that it’s a risk.”

She recruited director Michael Grandage for her tour. She was desperate to work with the man who ran the Donmar Warehouse for a decade until 2012.

“I could have asked Fatty Saunders,” her TV comedy partner Jennifer Saunders, “but I thought, ‘I’m actually going to ask a proper grown up theatre person’.”

Eighteen months passed between her first approach to Grandage and the tour plans beginning, but she kept taking other jobs - a sign of her being “scared” - including a role as a judge on Australia’s Got Talent.

In the show, something of a monologue, not a stand-up gig, Dawn looks back on her life – which, so far, has lasted roughly 30 Million Minutes.

“It’s a slide show to an extent. But not just a slide show,” she said. “It’s not like your awful, most feared auntie who’s just come back from Egypt where you have to sit and watch everything.

“It’s quite autobiographical, so I show you the people that have made me - so to speak. There’s quite a lot about my mum and dad.”

With a 30-year comedy career, and 27 years on TV screens, to draw on, Dawn promises to reveal more than every in her stage show – although not without reservations.

“It’s a little bit, ‘Aren’t I interesting?’” she questions her director.

“I keep saying to Michael Grandage, ‘I need to take this out,’ and he says, ‘Absolutely not - that’s the whole point. Do not push it away from you. Absolutely own it and be completely strong and confident about that.’

“And so that’s what I’ve done.”

* Dawn French, Grand Theatre, Blackpool, Wednesday and Thursday, September 3 and 4, 7.30pm. Call 01253 290190.