St George’s Hall in Liverpool has hosted many an illustrious visitor over its many years but none I’m sure as endearingly scatty as Katy Manning. Having apparently taken a wrong turn, due to her well-known short sightedness, her grand entrance was made via a balcony overlooking the room rather than onto the stage. After this brief Eva Peron tribute she arrived in the room, but rather than make her way to the stage Katy proceeded to hug as many of the audience members as she could before rearranging the seating order so that some of the people at the back were brought forward to better seats. Quite a start to proceedings. Eventually the ever patient Mark Wright managed to cajole Ms Manning onto the stage and bring at least some small semblance of order.
“I though it was going to be a scout hut. I was expecting bunting.”
The evening continued in much the same delightfully chaotic fashion. Apparently Ms Manning had not been aware of St George’s Hall and was expecting much less ornate surroundings, such as a scout hut. Still her natural exhuberance was certainly not dampened by such grand surroundings. During the first half of the evening we were delighted with tales of her teenage meeting and friendship with Liza Minelli and their attempts at “sexy smoking” in the park to attract boys, some of the scrapes her short sightedness had got her into, including getting a prawn rammed up her nose, and of course the highlights of her acting career. I am pretty certain that the majority of the audience had attended as Dr Who fans, and certainly the Jo Grant years were well covered, however it was fascinating to watch some wonderful clips from some of Katy’s other, perhaps less well known, roles.
The second half of the evening was opened up for audience questions. In keeping with the unconventional tone rather than have a roving microphone anyone picked got to walk up to the stage, on which Ms Manning frequently reclined to get closer to the questioner, and put their burning question face to face. All very jovial except for one chap who got himself a stern, though well natured, rebuke for inferring that a post Dr Who Katy had abandoned the UK for Australia. He was soon corrected about the reason for the move,her poorly twin children, and advised of her volume of work back in the UK.
More hugs were on offer post show when Katy took the time to sign all kinds of memorabilia and pose for countless selfies with fans, myself included.
Throughout the evening Katy Manning was a charming, funny, bundle of energy. She is obviously a truly compassionate and beautiful soul as well as a real force of nature.