Written By: Mark Armstrong
Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the prettiest of them all? The voice on the other side of the mirror holds all the cards, and for Snow White And The Seven Dwarfes at the Epstein Theatre, the voice will belong to none other than Derek Acorah, a well-known local celebrity renowned for his spiritual medium work that has seen him handle everything from a close-knit family to a huge haunted house on live television. We chatted to Derek about Snow White, Most Haunted and what else he has lined up in the coming months!
First of all, tell us about your character in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfes.
I’ll be playing the Magical Mirror, a mirror that speaks the truth rather mystically, and just tries to get everything to be correct, balanced and harmonious, whereas some of the other characters might not appear to be that way. I also have to tell a few home truths to a person or persons who needs to be told! That will be my role.
Have you been a fan of pantomime in the past?
Oh, absolutely! I remember going back to when my grandmother took me to pantos. I have taken my children and grandchildren to see pantos, and they love them; my whole family love them.
When did you first develop the skills to become a spiritual medium?
Well, my grandmother told me, as my grandmother had been a medium for 50 years. She spotted different signs with me, especially when I said that I saw a man in the house when I was 6, and it turned out to be my granddad who had passed away that I didn’t even know. He passed over two years ago before I was born. He appeared in my grandmother’s house and spoke to me, and I went and told my grandmother that there was a strange man there, I described him, and she brought these photographs out of him and said “Is this the man?” And it was, but she didn’t tell me at that time as she didn’t think I was old enough to understand that it was the spirit of her husband. She waited until I was 9 and then told me, but she told me that I had the skills and the gifts like her, and that she would watch me and try to help me to train and develop these skills further.
How did Most Haunted change your life and your career?
Well, before Most Haunted, I used to host similar shows on Granada for about five years, and then Most Haunted ran for about 5-6 years. It was a different way of doing my work, going from doing private readings and being in theatres to tell people about their loved ones to visiting places with haunted reputations, and then having to sort out the bad ones from the good ones. That was all new to me. So, it was a very good learning curve to understand, looking back after all these years, what I was really meant to do. I was meant to experience those things and sort them out.
What were the main highlights of your time on Most Haunted?
Just the pure volume of people who approached me and stopped me to say how much they had been helped. People in the streets and shops everywhere would stop me, even at airports or train stations; I didn’t grasp that I was so well-known. It turned out that people en masse were telling me how much they’d been helped by viewing and seeing me work.
You also appeared in Celebrity Big Brother back in 2017. Tell us about how you found that experience?
A lot of people ask me that. I wanted to go in for the experience, but basically they had been asking me for four years, and I kept turning it down. Finally, I decided to do it, and my experience was this: I didn’t really not get on with anyone, I don’t think there was anybody that had the knives out for me because I got on with people. There were times where the younger ones would go off on one from drinking too much and losing their rag, but I stayed out of it. I remember when I was young that I could be the same, so I’m not gonna judge them. I tried to speak to them a couple of times quietly and say “Look, try not to do that and help yourself”. It’s hard not to be heard because you have microphones everywhere. Overall, my wife asked me about it and I said that it was like a holiday, but a bad holiday! (Laughs)
What else do you have lined up in the near future?
Aside from the pantomime, I’ve got more television work coming up in the new year. I’ve got my autobiography coming out at Christmas, telling the truth about everything including people I’ve met, whether it be good, bad or indifferent. It’ll be quite startling to read about some of the people I’ve met; will that be a bestseller? Watch this space! (Laughs) I’ve already done three programmes just recently recorded for ITV, BBC and Channel 4, which are coming out after Christmas. One of them is real fun, which was with Michael McIntyre; he’s a real character. So, I’ve got those shows, and if they’re given the green tick to be commissioned for a brand new programme in the new year, I will be absolutely ecstatic. I’ve been told by my agent that the deal has almost been done. I can possibly head into Christmas as a very happy man and with the household being very happy.
Finally, why should the Liverpool audience come to see Snow White?
Snow White is a wonderful, wonderful pantomime. The storyline makes sure that you know that at the end of the day, everything is happy. There is intrigue and jealousy to a certain degree by one character who wants to be the top dollar, and my role is to tell them “You’re not the top dollar, you’re not the prettiest, actually you’re probably the ugliest!” (Laughs) It’s just the sheer joy, especially when you see the children coming with their parents, how much they raise their own vibrations and how much they’re looking forward to the panto, the music, the voices, the singing, the hyperactivity that takes place on the stage. It all gets to the kids, and there’s nothing like a panto to drive a child into a fantasy and seeing that fantasy turn out to have a good ending.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfes runs at the Epstein Theatre from Friday December 7 to Wednesday January 2 2019. To book your tickets, click here.