Stars in Their Eyes : The Live Revival
Prevent Breast Cancer supporter Linda Kelly shares the story behind our event, Stars in Their Eyes – The Live Revival.
It’s something that we hear time and time again – cancer will touch us all at some point in our lives. Despite this though, I never thought it would directly impact my life, so when my closest friend and colleague, Therese, was diagnosed with breast cancer and later died following a tough battle with the disease, it hit me hard.
Therese and I met 30 years ago when she trained me to be a vision mixer and we later worked together on ITV’s Stars in their Eyes. After she passed away, her daughters, Annie and Rachael, asked me to arrange a fundraiser for Prevent Breast Cancer, then called Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention. Along with our other friend, Jenny, we set about organising a ball in Therese’s memory to raise some much-needed funds for this very special charity.
We enlisted Matthew Kelly to host and the event, which took place in November 2009, featured performances from some of the Coronation Street cast. We raised a phenomenal £34,000 for Prevent Breast Cancer and the charity has since gone on to host a ball each year, events which I’ve continued to support in any way I can.
The charity has come a long way since then, and nine years later, after many discussions with events manager Suzanna Dhawan about recreating Stars in Their Eyes one day, we decided to actually do it! Dangling a carrot named ‘Stars’ in front of my nose was difficult to refuse, and so here I am co-producing the iconic show.
It was a real Saturday night staple in homes up and down the country, so when we first started discussing the idea, we set our sights on bringing Matthew himself on board.
There was always a real buzz and electric atmosphere on set and I cannot wait to see this brought back to life right here in Manchester. We have some of the original contestants, including Shirley Bassey impersonator Maxine Barrie and George Michael sound-a-like Robert Lamberti, plus some fresh talent.
We’re now all counting down to the show on 2 June and I know that when we hear those famous words, ‘Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…’, it will be simply magical, especially as I know Therese would be cheering us on, too.