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HomeEntertainmentMeera Syal reveals how panto convinced her to be an actress

Meera Syal reveals how panto convinced her to be an actress

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Critically acclaimed actress and writer of Indian origin based in the UK, Meera Syal has revealed how a pantomime in Stoke-on-Trent convinced her to become an actress.

Syal, who is best known for such successful TV shows as Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumar’s at No. 42, told BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show that she first realised acting could be a realistic career path when she saw Dick Whittington as a child.

“This is why pantomimes are so important for kids, because it’s often their first experience of theatre and live performance,” Syal said. “I can see their makeup running and I can see their laboured breath. I pat the villain – and I smell those smells – and I go, ‘what is this place? I don’t know what it is, but it’s home. This is where anything is possible’. So that was the moment I realised what an actor was and that’s when I fell in love with it.”

During the interview, she also spoke of being a “telly addict” and how it was a window into a world she “couldn’t imagine”. “I was growing up in a little mining village. So seeing different parts of the world was all terribly exotic, but I was also excited by the storytelling,” she said.

Earlier this year Syal received the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship, the highest honour awarded by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The award recognises Syal’s exceptional contributions to film and television and is the latest recognition of her achievements in the arts, which include being made an MBE and then a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II.

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