Jackie The Musical goes on sale at the Festival Theatre, Malvern

Jackie The Musical goes on sale at the Festival Theatre, Malvern




To play at the Festival Theatre Malvern

From Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 June 2016

As part of a major UK tour


Directed by Anna Linstrum and Choreographed by Arlene Phillips

Written by Mike James, with choreography by Arlene Phillips and directed by Anna Linstrum, JACKIE THE MUSICAL will play at Malvern Festival Theatre from 21-25 June 2016, as part of a nationwide tour.

Supported by Jackie publishers DC Thomson, former magazine Editor Nina Myskow joins the production as Editor-in-Chief, and will head up a brand new digital/online TV channel JACKIE TV. 

 Once there was a time with no mobile phones, no apps, no texting, no e-mails and no twitter.  Angst ridden teenage girls waited with bated breath by the letterbox for their weekly issue of Jackie Magazine… unless their big sister got there first! Jackie accompanied millions of girls through their teenage years in the ‘70’s and 80’s, years of boy trouble, ironing hair and problem solving from resident agony aunts, Cathy and Claire. The magazine supported and inspired those girls and, best of all, it was great fun.

JACKIE THE MUSICAL revisits those heady days, and tells the story of a fifty-something divorcée who revisits her stash of well-thumbed Jackie magazines for the same reason she first read them nearly forty years ago: advice on how best to navigate the opposite sex.

The quizzes, the fashion tips, the ‘do’s and don’ts on a first date’ and above all the Cathy and Claire problem pages are all devoured eagerly by our plucky heroine ‘Jackie’  as she revisits the dizzy world of the teen bible.  With her ex and a handsome new guy both on the scene, the valuable lessons she learnt as a girl begin to influence her future and Jackie discovers the one person in control of her life is – her.

Funny and feisty, with a sound track featuring the era’s most beloved and memorable hits, including the sounds of Pop Idols Donny Osmond, David Cassidy and Marc Bolan played live on stage, the show promises a whirlwind tour of Planet Seventies and a most fabulous night out!

Janet Dibley plays ‘Jackie’.  Janet became a household name in the 1980s, co-starring with Nicholas Lyndhurst in ITV’s primetime The Two of Us, playing ‘Elaine Walker’ for all four series. She went on to star as ‘Lorna Cartwright’ inEastenders, Carol McGarry in four series of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends, ‘Deborah Johnson’ in The Chase and most recently as ‘Chaz Moore’, in Broadchurch.  Janet joined the cast of the BBC soap Doctors in 2010 as series regular ‘Dr Elaine Cassidy’ a role she played for over two years, and which also saw her writing for the show.  Her theatre roles include the 2014 tour of Kindertransport, Absent Friends and Could Be Any One of Us at Scarborough, ‘Sarah’ in Richard Eyre’s National Theatre Production of Guys and Dolls and ‘Julie Jordan’ in Stephen Pimlott’s Carousel at the Manchester Royal Exchange.

Janet Dibley: Photo Courtesy of Bright Media
Janet Dibley: Photo Courtesy of Bright Media

Best known for his role as ‘Anthony Trueman’ in EastEnders, Nicholas Bailey was most recently seen on stage in the critically acclaimed production The Invisible at the Bush Theatre, London.   Other television work includes Siblings andDoctors, whilst past credits include Anubis House, Miranda and Law & Order: UK

Graham Bickley plays ‘John’ and Nicholas Bailey plays ‘Max’Graham Bickley became a household name playing ‘Joey Boswell’ in Carla Lane’s much loved BBC TV series Bread.  He has starred in a host of hit West End musicals, including Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard and Ragtime, for which received an Olivier Award nomination.  He regularly appears with the BBC Concert Orchestra and in concert halls across the country.

 Nina Myskow says: “I’m so proud to have been editor of Jackie in its golden years in the 70’s. It always was a girl’s best friend, but I could never have imagined then that its spirit of fun and warmth would live on to become a musical today. It’s such a brilliant idea, and I’m absolutely thrilled that I’m going to be involved, all over again. How exciting! And I can’t wait to see it, to hear the music, and to be transported back to a time when we were all young, and not just young at heart.”

JACKIE THE MUSICAL was commissioned by the Gardyne Theatre in Dundee, spiritual home and location of the Jackie editorial offices, where the show premiered to critical and public acclaim in Autumn 2013.  The 2016 UK tour is produced by The Gardyne Theatre, Arden Entertainment and Sally Wood, supported by DC Thomson.



For further information, press interviews and images please contact Katherine Camps Kilgour at Bright Media on 07958 649502 or email katherine@brightmediauk.com



Mike James – Writer

Mike James has many years of experience writing, adapting and directing for the stage and television. As Artistic Director for the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff and then the Torch Theatre (two of Wales’ leading repertory theatres) he wrote and directed dozens of plays including nine children’s musicals, as well as adapting classics such as the History of Mr Polly,Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Tom Jones for the stage. Mike’s musical drama, Tom – based on the early life of the singer Tom Jones – was staged at his birthplace, Pontypridd on March 1st 2014, followed by a ten-week tour of the UK. In addition, Mike’s drama Somewhere in England about the BBC’s move to Bangor, Wales, during the war will be produced at Theatr Clwyd in October 2015.

He is also an experienced TV writer/script editor/producer for young people and has worked on Breakfast Serials, G force,My Barmy Aunt Boomerang, Captain Abercrombie and Raven for BBC.  He also wrote and produced What’s so good About Roald Dahl? for Channel Four.  His recent work includes Waybuloo, Zingzillas, Something Special, Gigglebiz and Nina and the Neurons for BBC Cbeebies. He is currently working on Series 4 of Gigglebiz starring Justin Fletcher.


Anna Linstrum –  Director

Anna Linstrum’s theatre credits include Crush (UK Tour), High Society (UK tour), The Secret Garden (Edinburgh & Toronto), James & The Giant Peach (Watermill Newbury), The Snow  Queen (Cardiff), Billy Liar (UK Tour), Spend, Spend, Spend (UK Tour), The Sound of Music (Toronto).  She is currently writing an adaptation for Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 of a five-part series, Tennessee’s Women. She is  also under commission to the Unicorn Theatre to write a music theatre show, Fleshmarket, based on the novel by Nicola Morgan, and is writing book and lyrics for a musical adaptation of Noel Streatfield’s classic children’s novel Ballet Shoes, with the Tony award winning composer Lucy Simon.


Arlene Phillips – Choreographer

Arlene Phillips CBE is a showbiz legend; she has worked with stars from film and TV, to theatre and arenas, as well as becoming one of Britain’s favourite television judges.  She came to prominence in the dance world by creating the often controversial but hugely popular dance group Hot Gossip. Since that time she has become a world-renowned Director and Choreographer with her work seen widely on stage, feature film, concert arenas, television, music videos and commercials.

Arlene has worked on huge worldwide productions such as Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, EFX at the MGM Grand, The Bratz Arena Tour and the British  2009 entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.  UK productions of A Clockwork Orange (R.S.C.), Black Goes with Everything (The Songs of Don Black) and An Evening with Gediminas Taranda (Bolshoi Ballet) in Moscow.
Arlene’s renowned choreography has been seen in a number of much loved musicals including Flashdance, Sleeping Beauty, The Sound of Music, Grease, We Will Rock You, Time and Matador. Whilst maintaining her choreography Arlene was increasingly asked to take on role as director in shows such as Saturday Night Fever, Starlight Express,Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar (US tours).

Arlene is now widely recognized as a TV personality appearing on chat shows and talent TV reality shows famous all over the UK.  In 2007 Arlene toured the UK with the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour that out sold the Spice Girls Tour!  From 2004 Arlene was a judge on the UK’s BBC1 Strictly Come Dancing.  Her popularity has been far reaching and since leaving the show she was appointed as the Government’s ‘Dance Tsar’ to help improve the UK’s health and fitness in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Alongside theatre producer David Ian, Arlene created a new musical drama Britannia High and is currently creating her own dance show, the first to embrace every style of dance.

Arlene’s relationship with dance has allowed her significant accolades including nominations for Tony Awards, Olivier Awards, a National Broadway and a FaNY. Awards include an MTV, a Drama Desk, a BAFTA and an Emmy for best choreography.  In the 2002 New Years Honours List Arlene was awarded an OBE for Services to Dance and in 2004 a Companionship Award from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts for her contribution to dance, presented by Sir Paul McCartney.  She has also been awarded Honorary Membership in 2006 by the International Dance Teachers Association and a Carl Alan Award for Services to Dance.


Nina Myskow – Editor in Chief

Nina Myskow was educated at Wykeham School in South Africa, Bell Baxter School in Scotland, and St Andrews University, where she read English and a lot of trashy novels.

She completed the novels but not the degree, and embarked on her writing career on the teenage magazine, Jackie. She was made editor, becoming the first female editor in the history of the publisher, DC Thomson. She was a Pop writer on The Sun, TV Critic on the Sunday People and the News of the World and her series of celebrity body image interviews, The Real Real Me, was a weekly feature in the Daily Mirror for four years. Her celebrity interviews are published in both national and international publications.

Nina is a regular presenter and guest on This Morning, The Wright Stuff, Big Brother commenting regularly on Eviction nights as well as a popular talking head for MTV programming!

She has appeared on Grumpy Old Woman and Grumpy Old Travelers, Trust Me I’m A Holiday Rep (which she was lucky enough to win) and countless documentaries. A judge on three series of New Faces, a regular panellist on Through The Keyhole, she presented her own show Nina vs. The Rest on BSB and co-hosted The Love Weekend on C4. She has presented, and contributes regularly to, shows on Radio 2, 4 and 5, BBC Radio London and Talk Radio. She lives in the hopes of being invited once again to open a Haagen Dazs ice cream parlour. The contract stated, “Must be photographed sampling the product.” She complied.


Arden Entertainment, Sally Wood: www.arden-entertainment.co.uk  Sally is a Patron of The Ben Kinsella Trust, and an Ambassador for London’s Roundhouse Theatre.  In March 2015 she chaired the Roundhouse Gala Auction, raising £1 million to help over 3,000 young people realise their creative potential through various projects in music, media and performing arts.

Productions include ‘Hidden in the Sand’ starring Sally Dexter at Trafalgar Studios; ‘Touched Like A Virgin’ starring Sadie Frost at Soho Theatre; ‘Third Floor’ starring Craig Gazey (Coronation Street) and Emily Head (The Inbetweeners) at Trafalgar Studios; ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ UK tour, Edinburgh Festival & Dubai; ‘The Moon is Halfway to Heaven’ at Jermyn St Theatre; ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ UK tour, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, South Korea, Belgium, Holland; ‘CBeebies Little Charley Bear’ at Ambassadors Theatre; ‘Lone Star & Private Wars’ starring Shane Richie, ‘Days of Hope’ (both at Kings Head); ‘The Rubenstein Kiss’ starring Samantha Bond and Gary Kemp at Hampstead Theatre (winner – TMA Best New Play Award and The John Whiting Award).

Sally also produced ‘Live at the Ambassadors’, a variety of concerts featuring acts such as Paul McCartney, Charlie Watts, Mick Hucknall, Kelly Jones (Stereophonics), Beverley Knight, James McCartney, Bill Wyman, Mica Paris & more.


ABOUT JACKIE MAGAZINE: If you didn’t know the actual facts, you’d be forgiven for thinking Jackie was created by a pop music guru or a supertrendy fashionista, but nothing could be further from the truth. The magazine was the brainchild of Gordon Small, a former RAF aero engine fitter who was far from being an aficionado of the music industry or an expert in style. Gordon was the magazine’s founder and first editor. Along with a creative team, he produced Jackie, an exciting new magazine “for go-ahead teens” which went on to be the best-selling teenage title for 10 years. Back then girls didn’t have iPads, laptops or mobiles. There was no telly in their bedroom. The family TV was more than likely rented and there was a choice of just three channels – a far cry from today’s world of multichannel TV that’s accessible 24/7.

As for keeping up with pop music and the charts, teenagers listened to the hits on Radio Luxembourg under woollen bed covers! (Duvets hadn’t hit homes in the UK.) So it’s not surprising their magazine played a major role in the lives of teenage girls – it was the highlight of their week. Jackie launched on Thursday, January 11, 1964. At just 6d, the equivalent of 2½p, it was the must-have mag if you wanted to be up to date on what was hip and happening. In the same way, Top of the Pops was the must-see pop TV programme.

Top of the Pops launched just ahead of Jackie with the first show airing on January 1, 1964.  Jackie’s address printed in the magazine was 185 Fleet Street, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 2HS, but in reality it was actually produced hundreds of miles away in the north east of Scotland. It was created in Dundee a city famous for its jute, jam and journalism. The thinking behind the London address was to give the title more kudos and to make it appear that Jackie was produced at the centre of the cool capital. The magazine was a lively mix of fashion and beauty tips, pop gossip, horoscopes, fun quizzes, love stories and life advice, including the all-important tips on how to get a boy – and keep him!

Jackie was a hit right from the start with sales reaching an all-time high in the early seventies when they peaked at over a million. Readers loved the pin-ups, and posters of pop idols such as David Cassidy, Donny Osmond and David Essex adorned the bedroom walls of thousands of teenage fans.

Fashion also played a major role in the magazine and throughout its life an amazing array of weird and wonderful gear graced the pages, including jeans with enormous flares, maxi skirts and the proverbial huge platform shoes. Bright purple was all the rage and Biba was big news. In the early years of Jackie the fashions were drawn. The artwork was striking and very stylised. But as time went on the magazine also moved on and Jackie changed from using drawn artwork to photographing “real”’ models on location.

The top-selling teen title continually evolved to stay in tune with its readers, ensuring it was always bang on trend. Jackie was a fabulous magazine that was loved by everyone who read it and everybody who worked on it, so in the words of David Cassidy, could it be forever? Sadly, no. With sales declining to 50,000, the decision was made to shut the title and the presses rolled for the last time on issue dated July 3, 1993. However, it was maybe “bye bye baby” but there is no doubt that the magazine holds special memories for millions of women who will never forget the huge part Jackie played in their teenage years.


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