Stacey Dooley reveals how Paul O’Grady inspired Kevin Clifton in new stage role

Stacey Dooley has revealed her partner Kevin Clifton sought inspiration from Paul O’Grady’s alter ego Lily Savage when preparing for his new musical role.

Clifton stars as former drag queen Hugo Battersby/Loco Chanelle in a new touring production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which follows schoolboy Jamie Campbell as he overcomes barriers to pursue his dream of becoming a drag queen.

After watching Clifton in the show at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre, TV presenter Dooley shared an Instagram post to praise her partner’s performance.

Alongside a photo of the couple posing on stage together after the show, she wrote: “Went to go see Kev last night. @jamiemusical

“Kev, you are so v v clever. Smaaaaaaashed it. Embodied the role SO seamlessly.”

Dooley added that his “non stop research of lily savage and endless drag literature paid off”.

Comedian and TV presenter O’Grady, who died last March aged 67, rose to fame on the nightclub circuit with his larger-than-life drag alter ego Lily Savage.

Savage/Bingo 5
TV personality Lily Savage (Peter Jordan/PA)

Following his death, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK stars were among those to praise O’Grady for paving the way for British drag artists with his Lily Savage persona.

Professional dancer Clifton and documentary maker Dooley met when they competed on Strictly Come Dancing together in 2018, beating runners-up Joe Sugg, Faye Tozer and Ashley Roberts to take home the glitterball trophy.

The couple welcomed their first child, Minnie, in January.

Clifton was a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing for seven series before he left in 2019.

He made his Broadway debut as a principal dancer with Burn the Floor in 2009 and took to the West End stage for the first time the following year for a production of Dirty Dancing.

The dancer has also featured in the UK tour of Strictly Ballroom the Musical and in 2021, he joined Jonathan Church’s critically acclaimed production of Singin’ in the Rain as Cosmo Brown.

TV presenter Dooley, known for her BBC documentaries, will make her acting stage debut in the West End next month when she stars as Jenny in the cast line-up for supernatural thriller 2:22 A Ghost Story.