Paul O'Grady and dog

Published March 12th, 2015 | Exclusive interview

Waiting chats to Paul O’Grady

In our brand new Spring issue we chat to the multi-talented Paul O’Grady about animal welfare, taking fame in his stride, and his Wirral roots – including selling ciggies to Matron! …

waiting_issue5_cover“None of my family live in Birkenhead anymore. Those that haven’t passed away have emigrated to the wilds of Little Sutton and Chester – there’s even a few who moved ‘darn sarf’! I was filming all over Birkenhead a couple of years ago for a series for the BBC, and one of the things that amazed me was the transformation of Birkenhead Park. It was a bit of a wreck last time I was there, thanks to vandals and neglect, but now it’s a world class park again, absolutely beautiful. No wonder Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect, used our park as the model for Central Park in New York. Seeing the once familiar shops of Church Road and Borough Road boarded up, closed down or demolished was a sad sight, but I was glad to see that the chemist, the post office and the ‘Co-ey’ were still standing, as was the magnificent Central Library on Borough Road, a building I know like the back of my hand. As for the destruction of that Art Deco masterpiece, the Essoldo Cinema, as well as The Plaza – well that was just criminal.”

“I was born and bred in Tranmere, and even though I’ve now lived in the South for nearly 40 years, I’ve still got Birkenhead running through me like a stick of rock, and I always correct journalists who refer to me as a Scouser by telling them I’m actually a Woolyback! However, now I’ve more or less
settled in Kent, I couldn’t face moving again as I’ve accumulated so much junk; but I still have a strong bond going on with Birkenhead – the umbilical cord was never really broken.”

Read our full interview with Paul in the latest issue of Waiting – pick up your copy from GPs, hospitals, health centres, railways stations, and anywhere you might find yourself waiting…

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