Les Dawson sends daughter Charlotte ‘good luck message' from beyond the grave as she returns to Blackpool stage
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Charlotte Dawson, 31, was shocked to hear a snippet of a radio interview in which a woman said the best person she ever worked with was Les, a legendary pantomime dame.
The mum-of-two, who is playing Fortulicious in Beauty and the Beast at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: “I was in a taxi and asked the driver to put on the radio as I don’t like sitting in silence.
“The radio went all fuzzy and it cut out, it just made me think it was a good luck message from my dad.”
Much-loved comedian Les, famed for his crossdressing double act Cissie and Ada with Roy Barraclough, took on the role of a pantomime dame towards the end of his career.
He died of a heart attack in 1993 when Charlotte – his youngest of four children and his only child with second wife Tracy – was just eight months old.
Charlotte last year followed in her dad’s footsteps by performing a run of panto when she was cast in Cinderella at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
And this year she returns to the stage in her hometown, a few short miles from a statue of Les, just months after she gave birth to her second son, Jude.
Charlotte added: “It will be special this year with Noah, every time I pick him up from school, he says ‘I can’t wait to see you in panto mummy’ - last year he was calling me Charlotte!
“He’ll get it so much more this year, last year he kept wanting to cuddle me when I was on stage, he’ll be more aware of what’s going on this year.
“And it’s really special because last year I was pregnant with Jude and now he’s going to be here with me.
“I’m so happy to be back at the pleasure beach, I love working with them.
“The panto that we do here is a bit different. I know having Noah that two and half hours can be a lot for children to keep still for.
"We do it for an hour, it’s straight to the point, it’s so fun, it’s hilarious.”
Her mum Tracy, who toured with Les, is on hand during rehearsals to look after Charlotte’s three-month-old son Jude while Noah stays at home with dad, ex-rugby league ace Matt Sarsfield.
She said carrying on the family tradition makes her feel closer to the rubber-faced funnyman, whose old costume she keeps in her dressing room for luck.
She added: “My dad loved Blackpool and it’s my hometown at the end of the day, all my friends and family are here so it’s extra special to be performing here.
“I feel so much more closer doing panto because he was a pantomime dame for so many years. He used to panto until Easter though, I’m not sure I could cope with it for that long.
“I always have his costumes in my dressing room with me for luck.
“My mum gets really emotional and feels really proud, she jazzes up the dressing room for me, the way she used to do for my dad when he was on tour.
“She just loves that, I think she craves that. She was so used to being on tour with my dad, so I think she feels like a piece of my dad lives on when we do this.
“Noah’s with my mum when I’m rehearsing, I’m still breastfeeding as well and he loves the udders so that won’t be stopping any time soon.”
Ex-on the beach star Charlotte has become a celebrity in her own right and often entertains her 1.3 million Instagram followers with hilarious videos.
But while she shares her dad’s sense of humour, she concedes he was funnier than her – just.
She added: “If he was here, he’d say he was funnier than me, but I think I run him close. We’ve got the same sense of humour.
“When you watch his stuff now, it’s like he knew where comedy was going to go, so much of it is timeless.
“He probably wouldn’t get away with his mother-in-law jokes now, but I think he was ahead of his time with the rest of his comedy.”
Now a mum-of-two, Charlotte is juggling her parenting responsibilities and panto commitments with running with her own tanning business and other jobs.
She said: “It’s full on right now, I try to juggle everything, it all feels like it’s all happening at the same time.
“You’ve got to not put too much pressure on yourself, I’m blessed to have this job.
“Just don’t put pressure on yourself, just go with the flow. You can’t take yourself too seriously, it’s tough being a mum, we should all stick together and look after each other.”