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Bonita Melody Lysette "Bonnie" Langford (22 July 1954) is an Englishmarker actress and entertainer. She came to prominence as a child star in the early 1970s then she subsequently became a companion of Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy's Doctor Who and has appeared on stage in various musicals such as Peter Pan: The Musical, Cats and The Pirates of Penzance. After a brief hiatus she has returned to screen and stage following her acclaimed performances on celebrity talent show Dancing on Ice. In 2009 Bonnie relocated to the U.S.A & now divides her personal & work time between New Yorkmarker & the UK.

Early career and Doctor Who

Langford attended The Arts Educational Schoolmarker and the Italia Conti Academy stage school. Her first stage appearance was at four months and her first public appearance was at 15 months when she danced in specially made ballet shoes. She first came to public attention when, aged 6, she won the talent show Opportunity Knocks. This led to early fame in the television series Just William, the 1974 Broadway revival of Gypsy starring Angela Lansbury, the 1976 film Bugsy Malone and the 1977 film Wombling Free. At this time, she was associated with fellow child star Lena Zavaroni.Langford has also appeared in 3 Royal Variety Performance's over the years.

Between 1986 and 1987 Langford played the role of Mel, companion to both the Sixth and Seventh Doctors in the classic science fiction series Doctor Who. She returned to the role in 1993 for Dimensions in Time, a special charity Doctor Who/EastEnders crossover episode as part of the BBC's Children in Need. She continues to reprise the role in audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions (eleven to date, including the episodes The One Doctor and The Fires of Vulcan).

Langford was a featured dancer in BBC One's popular light entertainment series The Hot Shoe Show which she co-presented with Wayne Sleep. On 23 October 2005, she performed in Children Will Listen, a 75th birthday tribute to Stephen Sondheim at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lanemarker, Londonmarker.

Langford is a panto regular. Recent credits include: Prince Charming in Cinderella at theYvonne Arnaud Theatremarker, Guildfordmarker (2005/2006) & 'Peter' in Peter Pan at the Richmond Theatremarker in Surreymarker(2008/2009).

Bonnie has one sister called Cherida Langford and is the aunt of Hollyoaks star Summer Strallen and her sisters Saskia, Zizi, and Scarlett.

Dancing On Ice show and tour

In 2006, Langford was a celebrity contestant in the first series of ITV's Dancing on Ice, partnering professional figure skater Matt Evers. Their routines were characterised by the dramatic lifts and tricks they performed and were amongst the most ambitious in the competitions. Viewers saw Langford bang her head as she was spun on the ice during rehearsals, illustrating the danger of some of the moves they were attempting. Their appearances were also notable for the differing reception they received from the panel of judges (which consistently voted them highly, awarding them the highest total scores and the only two maximum scores from individual judges) and the voting public (who twice placed them in the bottom two pairs, forcing a "skate off" to remain in the competition). They finished in third place overall.

Langford and Evers appeared again on the programme in the one-off Champion of Champions show which followed series two. They were scored second overall by the judging panel but again the public vote was less favourable and they were amongst the four teams eliminated in the first round of the competition. Langford then toured with Torvill and Dean's Dancing on Ice: The Tour in 2007, a series of 41 shows in which she was the winner 27 times .

Langford took part in the Dancing on Ice: The Tour in April and May 2008. Teamed with new skating partner Pavel Aubrecht she again impressed the judges and fans with two new superb routines, however the competition was extremely high with four of the other celebrities also winning shows as well and in the end Bonnie won 4 of the 49 shows on the tour. Her record of 27 wins set on the 2007 tour was broken on the 2009 tour by Ray Quinn who scored 35/39 wins.

Since Dancing on Ice

Langford's appearance on Dancing on Ice sparked a regeneration in her career. She returned to the West End theatre in April 2006 (for the first time since 1998) playing the murderess Roxie Hart in the long-running West End musical Chicago and again in Dec 2007-Feb 2008 in the same role, also in 2006-7 she appeared in the Birmingham and Plymouth tours of Guys and Dolls playing Miss Adelaide Adams, a dance hall hostess. Starting in 2006 she has also been touring with Sandi Toksvig in a two-woman theatrical show called Short and Curly.

She has also made a number of guest appearances on television, including Agatha Christie's Miss Marple on ITV (playing Betty Johnson alongside Brian Conley in the episode By the Pricking of My Thumbs, February 2006), The Catherine Tate Show (late 2006), Supermarket Sweep with Dale Winton (February 2007) and the children's programme Hider in the House (March 2007).

In July 2007 she was a judge on the ITV series Baby Ballroom: The Championship. Starting on 16 February 2008, Bonnie was 1 of 5 celebrities making up team Ant for their new team game Ant versus Dec in Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. She survived right up until the final edition, reaching the semi final stage & just missing out on the final which was eventually won by team Dec.

From summer 2009 Bonnie appeared in Chicago as Roxie Hart in Canada & on Broadway in New York & again on broadway from September - November 2009.

Criticism

Langford received a fair amount of criticism in her early career, as she had been widely perceived as over-precocious. Noel Coward reportedly made the comment after seeing a play in which the young Langford appeared, and in which a horse had also defecated on the stage, "If they had shoved the child's head up the horse's arse they would have solved two problems at once." Langford herself told interviewer Michael Parkinson on his television chat show, that Coward had said the best way to improve the play was to "cut the second half and the child's throat!"

Charity work and personal life

Langford has supported the BBC's Children in Need appeal (1993) and Comic Relief appeal (2007). For the latter she appeared in the video for the charity single I'm Gonna Be by The Proclaimers, Peter Kay and Matt Lucas.

She has also appeared in celebrity versions of game shows to support Childline when she played in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? alongside Anton Du Beke in December 2006, and the CdLs Foundation on both The Weakest Link in January 2007 (which she won) and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, this time alongside Jason Gardiner, in January 2008.

Langford lives with her husband, fellow actor Paul Grunert (most notable for appearances in ChuckleVision) whom she married in Mauritius in 1995, his daughter from a previous marriage, and their daughter Biana Jay (born 2000, Westminstermarker, London).

TV & film appearances

Television
Film
  • Wombling Free (1977) aka Wombling Free: The Movie (UK: video title)
  • Bugsy Malone (1976) - Lena Marelli (as Bonita Langford)


Theatre and tour appearances



Pantomime appearances



Audio



Albums



References

  1. Dancing on Ice 2008 tour
  2. "You might recall Noel Coward on Bonnie Langford..." in
  3. "Biography for Bonnie Langford" in
  4. Births England and Wales 1984-2006


External links




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