We will celebrate city's true stars of stage and screen

THIS is a special year for me.

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n Sir Harry Lauder was a true great, says Michelle, whose Pop Idol journey in 2003 included visiting Real Radio DJs Robin Galloway and Marie-Clair McManus
n Sir Harry Lauder was a true great, says Michelle, whose Pop Idol journey in 2003 included visiting Real Radio DJs Robin Galloway and Marie-Clair McManus

No, not because my doppelganger Beyonce is to perform in London in April, though she definitely took inspiration from my finger pointing moves from the All This Time video for her Super Bowl extravaganza.

No, it's because it is the 10th anniversary of my winning Pop Idol in 2003.

I know, I know ... you're thinking it all seems like yesterday, I haven't aged a day and was I just 12 years old when I won?

Well, maybe not, but it got me thinking about the industry I work in and what celebrity means?

Nowadays celebrity often refers to a reality TV star who likes to share with us every last detail of their lives, including personal grooming and toilet habits, but this, of course, wasn't always the case.

A few years ago I presented a television programme, directed by the wonderful Kim Kinnie, called Scotland's Always Had Talent.

We looked back over the previous 100 years to celebrate some of the biggest names in showbiz who hailed from our bonnie country.

We filmed in one of the most amazing venues I've ever been in, right here in Glasgow. It has been in the Trongate since 1857, making it the world's oldest surviving music hall and home to the debut in 1906 of a then 16-year-old Stan Laurel.

It's a venue, I'm slightly embarrassed to say, I didn't even know existed.

Located above an amusement arcade I am, of course, talking about the Britannia Panopticon.

Glasgow was a city bursting with variety and performers in those days, with more than 15 different venues, each one queued around the block with eager customers looking to get their tickets to that evening's performances.

We also looked at some of the great performers in Scotland, from the wonderful Sir Harry Lauder, the man Sir Winston Churchill described as "Scotland's greatest ever ambassador", to the much-adored Jimmy Logan, who graced the stage and screen for more than 50 years.

Others included Fran and Anna, Ricky Fulton and Jack Milroy, Sydney Devine, Stanley Baxter and, of course, my idol Dorothy Paul – still some of the most adored stars in Scotland.

These stars were true celebrities, seriously talented actors and actresses packing out theatres night after night and scoring No 1 rated shows on our TV screens year after year.

They should always be celebrated – and on Saturday we intend to do just that at the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow.

Hundreds of performers will attend The Showbiz Ball, to celebrate Scotland's contribution to stage and screen and to raise cash for performers no longer able to work.

Hosted by this year's President and my fellow panto star Dean Park, I am honoured to have been invited.

After looking back at all that talent, it put my 10 years in the spotlight into perspective. It's also made me realise, finally, why Beyonce didn't include Scotland in her Mrs Carter Tour this year.

I mean, who wouldn't feel inferior trying to follow all of those class acts.

The Ups and Downs Theatre Group is performing a musical extravaganza with special guest Edward Reid from March 4 to 9 in the Hamilton Townhouse.

I had the pleasure of sitting in on Sunday's rehearsals and can't wait to see Take 18 on the stage. Tickets are available from www.upsanddowns.ticketsource.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment

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