Mike Atkinson

Interview: Pam Ann / Caroline Reid

Posted in interviews, Nottingham Post by Mike A on June 1, 2007

EG caught up with Caroline Reid, the Australian creator of trolley-dolly bitch extraordinaire Pam Ann, wandering through the streets of London on her day off. Over the roar of traffic in the background, Caroline chatted happily about her best known comic character, and the various other sidekicks who will also be appearing at the Theatre Royal on Sunday evening.

But first… was the globe-trotting Pam familiar with our very own Nottingham East Midlands Airport (recently voted Best Airport at the “prestigious” Baltic Air Charter Association Awards, as I couldn’t help but boast)? Or maybe, given the dominance of low cost airlines such as easyJet and bmibaby, we’re just a little too “short haul” for her…

“Maybe for Pam – but I wish I was flying to Nottingham, rather than coming up on the motorway. I must put that in the contract for next time. But yeah, I know bmibaby: they’re clinging onto the hope that one day they’ll be scheduled.”

Ouch. That’s no way to talk about the East Midlands’ favourite airline… and possibly the only one that asks if you’d like ice cubes in your white wine, to boot.

“That’s fantastic; I may use that. I’m writing it down now!”

Is Pam held in high esteem by the trolley-dolly community, or do they view her as a scandalous misrepresentation of their profession?

“I think they love her, because they’d actually like to do and say the things that I do on stage, but for real. If I’m on a plane, they’ll run up to me saying “Pam, Pam, Pam! I’ve got a joke for you!” I mean, half of them have written my show, really… so if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t even have a show. If the cabin crew like what I do, then I’m doing a good job.”

So perhaps audience members might occasionally spot one of their own anecdotes popping up in the show? (Bmibaby… ice cubes… white wine… one has to live in hope.)

“Absolutely!”

Although Pam Ann headlines the show, four other characters will also be making an appearance, as Caroline explains.

“I’ve got Valerie from American Airlines: she’s 105, and still flying today. She scares the audience with horror stories of air disasters she’s been in.”

Hoping to lure Caroline into some juicy bitching, I suggested that some battle-scarred travellers might regard American Airlines as a horror story in their own right. Interestingly, she was having none of it.

“Well, they’ve given me a uniform, a proper name badge, and their stamp of approval. They’re big supporters of what I do – and if they’re happy, then I’m happy. I love American Airlines, and I’ll wave their flag any day.”

Suitably chastened, I moved Caroline onto her other characters.

“Mona the BA bitch is basically very old school, waves the flag, horsey. She’s waiting for her pension to come round. Very good at her job, but verging on prison warden.”

“Then I’ve got Sarah from Virgin, a typical dumb blonde. Richard Branson hires very young cabin crew; very S Club 7. You just don’t know whether those girls are going to be able to handle a situation of stress.”

“And then there’s Donna from easyJet, who dreams of flying over water. She loves to go down to Heathrow to look at the real cabin crew, and she hopes and dreams that one day she’ll get onto a real 747.”

As for Pam Ann herself, one of her most memorable engagements was when she crewed a private flight for Sir Elton John and his friends.

“They loved the fact that Pam thinks she’s almost of the Elton ilk. They could be brother and sister, really. So she basically put them all in their places, sat them down, and verbally abused them the whole way to Venice.”

Despite the growing public awareness of environmental issues regarding air travel, Pam is doing precious little to offset her own carbon emissions.

“She’s not green at all. She likes a carbon footprint, especially if it’s wearing a Manolo Blahnik. She’d take out a forest in the Amazon to put in a fashion café.”

Anyone assuming a bond of kinship between Caroline and this year’s Eurovision entrants Scooch, with their “affectionate tribute” to the airline industry, might be in for a rude awakening.

“They’re rubbish! They look crap, they’ve got nothing good to say about themselves, and they’ve ripped everybody else off. I know that Eurovision’s about cheese, but that’s bordering on stupid. I liked those Finnish monster guys who won last year; there was something different about them. But as for these guys: they’re like a charter version of Steps. People have asked if they’ve modelled their uniforms on me – but excuse me, I do not look like that! They look like waitresses from All Bar One! People have been saying that I’ve got to support them, but no! I can’t stand them!”

After completing her marathon 41-date tour, which finishes in mid-June, Caroline will be taking her One World Alliance show to the Edinburgh Festival for the whole of August. In the meantime, you can catch her at the Theatre Royal on Sunday evening.

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