Stacey Dooley: Theatre has a bit of snobbery

Stacey Dooley
Stacey Dooley is making her acting debut in in the West End supernatural thriller 2:22 A Ghost Story - Jeff Spicer/Bafta/Getty

Television presenter Stacey Dooley has said the theatre world has an “element of snobbery” ahead of her acting debut.

Luton-born Dooley, 37, is taking on the role of Jenny, previously played by singers Cheryl and Lily Allen, in the West End supernatural thriller 2:22 A Ghost Story at the Gielgud Theatre.

Dooley, who won Strictly Come Dancing in 2018 with dancer Kevin Clifton, was asked if she was nervous that theatre critics will be harsh in their reviews during an interview on BBC Breakfast on Monday.

She replied saying: “I think there has always been an element of snobbery surrounding that world.

”And that’s why it’s felt like certain sections of society, they can’t tap into ... you know I mean, a certain demographic.

”But I feel like this play, I like it for that reason, actually. It doesn’t feel too highbrow or [like] people [are] sat there with their arms folded, saying, ‘Right, you know, impress me.’ It’s an experience and it’s a ghost story ... it’s quite thought-provoking.

“So I’m not too fussed about the critics and again, it’s so subjective.”

Stacey Dooley and cast members
Stacey Dooley and fellow cast members Joe McFadden, Donna Air and James Buckley

Dooley also said that the conversation in the play is “very ordinary” and it was a “total joy” working with the other actors, which include Inbetweeners star James Buckley as colourful dinner guest Ben.

“You can sort of get into your head and think, ‘Oh, am I going to do a good job?’ All you can do is try your best, [and] go for it,” she said. “And hopefully people enjoy it.”

“It’s a hugely successful play and it’s done so well and I think they’ve always cast in quite unexpected ways ... like the first it was Lily Allen’s role, really, and she just smashed it and she was nominated for an Olivier Award.

“And then, ever since then, I think Jenny particularly ... hasn’t been as traditionally cast as other places.”

The show, directed by Matthew Dunster, sees Jenny raise concerns about her home being haunted while belief and scepticism clash.

Jenny and husband Sam, played by Joe McFadden, argue with their dinner guests, an old friend Lauren, played by Donna Air, and her new partner Ben.

Dooley, who has a child with Clifton, has presented the Panorama episode Stacey Meets The IS Brides, and the documentaries Stacey Dooley: Locked Up With The Lifers and Stacey Dooley: Stalkers.