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Meet the Nottingham panto dame who wowed Britain's Got Talent judges

Nottinghamshire Live logo Nottinghamshire Live 20/05/2022 Caroline Barry

A pantomime dame from Nottingham has wowed Britain's Got Talent judges in the current series receiving a total of four yes votes. Marc Kelly has been performing as Dame Dottie for ten years before appearing on the ITV show on Saturday, May 14.

The idea to enter the show came during the pandemic as many panto performances were cancelled due to Covid restrictions. Marc, who is originally from Beeston, joined a group of panto performers who call themselves, Dame Nation. The group performed a mash-up of Gloria Gaynor's 'I will survive' and The Weather Girls, 'It's raining men.'

"We decided to enter as a team called Dame Nation. after coming up with the idea during the pandemic. Our Facebook group formed because all of the pantos had been called and it was something to help it keep going. While we were chatting, we thought it would be a good idea to apply for Britain's Got Talent," he said.

Dame Nation appeared on a recent episode of Britain's Got Talent © ITV/ Marc Kelly / Thames Media Dame Nation appeared on a recent episode of Britain's Got Talent

"It was something new and hadn't been seen before on the show. It's such as British tradition and the perfect platform to go on to celebrate it. It was also at the Palladium which is the home of the modern panto so it felt like the right place to do it."

Although Marc has been a performer for ten years, it's very different facing a crowd of children in theatre in comparison to the judges including Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams. Marc said he was terrified before he went on but soon warmed to the new audience.

"I was terrified before we went on but once we were on stage, it felt like being back at home. The confidence levels went through the roof and the nerves disappeared. It started with one dame then by the end of the performance, all eight of us were on stage. People got up on their feet and went crazy for us which felt wonderful," he said.

"It's really what people are looking for in that it's feel-good, it's colourful and it's camp. It's always good to escape into something light-hearted and fun."

Even Simon Cowell was impressed by the dame's performance saying it was like a Spice Girls' Reunion but with better singing. The group will now have to wait until the semi-finalists are announced later this month.

"I think David Walliams wanted to join in and become the 9th member of the group," said Simon. "We didn't meet the judges afterwards but we had a chat with Ant and Dec who were super lovely. They wanted to know where we performed and learn a bit about each of us."

He added: "I would love to get through and we are preparing just in case as you have to do something different. We are keeping everything crossed. We are playing it a bit by ear at the moment because we don't really know what might happen with the group. It was our TV debut so we are hoping that we can do more performances together as Dame Nation - so watch this space."

Marc got his start in musical theatre before auditioning for pantomimes and developing his character, Dame Dottie. He has since relocated to London to continue his career and runs a children's theatre group called Razzamataz. He says the feedback from people who have watched the episode has been incredible.

"It has been incredible as we've had so much love. People have said this is the type of entertainment that they want - bright and vibrant. They have been overwhelmingly supportive," he said.

"It won't be a surprise to people as I've been doing panto for ten years but it will be a surprise for people that I was on TV as I've had to keep it a secret until it was aired. We filmed it a while ago so now I can let people know that's what I've been doing."

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