Interview: Pam Ann, A-List air hostess to the stars

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Katherine Knowles

Come Fly With Me is my first ever DVD. I guess you could say that it was a classic show!” says Pam Ann.

“So if you like me, you ought to like it. I’m really happy with it.

“Oh, and there are extras, so even if you’ve seen the show there’s something new there for you.

“Me and Pam’s People backstage bitching about, and a mockumentary about me getting ready for the show. Oh and Lily my Chinese crew character does a run through China Town, oooh, and there’s the classic safety video!

“The people making the DVD, Starz Home Entertainment, were going for an 18 rating, so they wanted it to be really filthy – it’s not one to buy your granny for Christmas, unless she’s pretty feisty, though it’s surprising how feisty some grannies are.

“They love a bit of filth.

“Anyway, they said to me would I put in more “cunts,” and how many could I manage? I thought maybe four, which ought to be enough for anyone! It made a nice change.

“Last week I was going on live TV, and they asked me to keep it clean, so before the camera started they were like, 5, 4, and I was like cunt, cunt, 3, fuck, 2, fuck – and they were so worried – fuck, 1 – and then I stopped!

“Anyway, you can buy the DVD in Woolworths, HMV, Virgin – all the usual places.”

Nightmare trolley dolly Pam Ann is the alter ego of Caroline Reid.

Caroline is hardly what you might call retiring, so it comes as a surprise to learn that she was pretty shy until the age of 21.

“I found everything a little overwhelming in my teens, but acting really helped. I decided that maybe I could do that, so to find out, I auditioned for NIDA, which is like the Australian RADA. I didn’t get in!

“But you’ve got to keep going, haven’t you, so I started doing comedy, and I was lucky, the drag queens took me under their feather boas and looked after me right from the start.

“Now, of course, you can’t shut me up. It’s all about confidence.

“Even so, doing the clubs, you sometimes get really tough crowds and bad nights.

“I remember one midnight slot I did in an East End pub in London with a mic stand held together with tape and five people in the audience! It’s great training though. It gives you an edge.

“I’ll always do the clubs. I’m not all hoity-toity about them. If you can get a crowd like that to have a good time you know your act is OK.

“I mean, especially when you’re supporting and the people haven’t come to see you, you get the feeling they’re sitting there wishing you’d hurry up and get off so the headliner can come out!”

Caroline’s most memorable show as Pam was supporting Cher at Wembley Stadium.

“I’m a huge fan of hers. In fact I used to dress up as her in a tribute act in Melbourne.

“I couldn’t sing, and I was shockingly bad. I didn’t tell her that though! The whole thing was like a dream. She was fantastic, and she really believed in me, that I could do it. The whole thing was amazing. I loved being a part of it.

“My worst shows are usually for corporate do’s. Some queen in the office says, ‘oh she’ll be good, book her,’ and then I get up there and I’m all ‘how the fuck are you?’

“And they hate it! They pull you off, cut the lights … my top tip to any one starting out is for corporate do’s get the money up front.

“After I did an act at a corporate party some guy came up to me and squeezed my tits.

“He was checking to see if they were real because he’d bet I was a drag queen!”

But with the new DVD, a successful international act, appearances on shows like Project Runway, “oooh, and I did a commercial for BA too,” surely these corporate party days will soon be drawing to an end.

What is life like for a true jet-set comedy star?

“Sometimes I get recognised on planes, which is a little strange. Once flying BA from the UK to Australia, the crew were fans of Pam, so they bumped me up to first class, and were so nice to me! Then they got off the plane in Singapore and the new crew came on.

“It turned out I’d actually had one of the new crew up on stage as a volunteer and I’d embarrassed him, so he hated me and pushed me down the back again.

“I like to fly. I love to travel. I don’t even mind if I’m in economy – no, actually, forget that, I do mind.

“If people are paying for me to fly then I tell them I have to go Club class. I can’t be seen in economy, I say. It’s such a Diva thing.”

Back on the ground here in the UK, there is a new stage show in the offing.

“It’s called One World Alliance. It’s on at the Shaw Theatre Euston Road in November for a ten-night run and it’s the last hurrah. After that I’m starting to work on new material for a new show.”

Caroline explains that the inspiration for Pam comes from a range of sources.

“I write from observations, emails that crew send me, all kinds of things. Then I make a heading, say “Duty Free” and I make notes under the heading.

“Then I try stuff out. I don’t sit down and write scripts. For me, writing is impro, it’s written on stage.

“You never quite know what might happen next. It makes it exciting.”

To win a copy of DVD Pam Ann Live: Come Fly With Me click here.