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Film, TV & Animation
Clementine gets in the festive mood
Interview: Clementine The Living Fashion Doll
By Martin Barber
Clementine is one of Norfolk's best kept celebrity secrets. A little dolly diva and Strictly Come Dancing super-fan, she gives an exclusive festive webTV interview to BBC Norfolk including a unique performance of Santa Baby.
Clementine, a dolly diva that is the cream of plastic fantastic, is a new star to be found twinkling in the Christmas night sky.
Created following a freak accident [she'd say a miracle], as a falling satellite crashed into a plastics factory in some far-off land, Clementine arrived in Norfolk off the coast at Sheringham.
Whilst exfoliating in the shingle and making a fabulous frock out of seaweed she was found by Mark Mander, a puppeteer from Norwich.
Mark knew he was going to be a puppeteer after watching the first episode of The Muppet Show. After going to art school in Great Yarmouth, he made a beeline for the acclaimed Norwich Puppet Theatre and it was there he learnt to pull a few strings!
Mark has gone on to perform in, and make puppets for many TV shows for the BBC, ITV and Jim Henson's and for five years has been the new George - the pink hippo - from the cult kids' TV show Rainbow.
Since tripping over Clementine on the beach, Mark has moved to London to become her agent and costumier.
He and Clementine are never to be seen together, though if you believe the gossip columns they are rarely more than a few pink sequins apart.
Clementine has appeared all over the world, with gigs at The London Mime Festival [she struggled to keep her mouth shut], at the Oslo Fashion Awards and at the Singapore Arts Festival.
She has also appeared at the acclaimed Edinburgh Festival, where she won the heart of TV presenter Graham Norton and is ever hopeful he might one day give her a TV show.
Clementine was last seen in Norfolk performing in cabaret at the gala closure of the Norwich International Festival Of Puppetry 2007.
Since then, she's been delighted to record a music video for the festive season offering a unique interpretation of Santa Baby, a song made famous in the early 1950s by Eartha Kitt.
During a flying visit to Norfolk in December, the dolly diva gave an exclusive festive webTV interview to BBC Norfolk in which she told Martin Barber about her love of Christmas, being a Strictly Come Dancing super-fan and looking pretty in pink!
Your performance career started in Norwich.
Yes, I started out at a little pub called the Lord Ragland, which is now pulled down, but I have very fond memories of Norwich and visit regularly.
You have quite a celebrity following, including Graham Norton.
Graham saw my show in Edinburgh, I think that must be six years ago now. He came along to review it. He gave me a wonderful review and I've been talking to him off and on ever since. He's a delightful man, lovely.
You're known as the 'living fashion doll', who inspires your look?
Lots of the top designers of course, but I do have my own personal designer called Mark Mander. He comes and runs up my skirts on a regular basis, which is quite nice! I tend to stick with a theme, pink. As long as I stick with that I think I'm safe.
Gethin Jones and Camilla Dallerup
I'm told you're a huge fan of Strictly Come Dancing.
I love Strictly Come Dancing. It's so glamorous, it's wonderful, so bright and hopeful.
I think TV's gone through a bit of a transition. There was a time when all you could watch was reality TV. People are living reality, why do they want to watch it for pleasure? I think Strictly Come Dancing is a return to glamour.
So who's getting your vote?
Gethin. Gethin every time. It's Gethin for me. He's just so, I don't know, he's just so – he's a great mover. That's all I can say here.
What do you think of the costumes?
I don't think there are enough sequins. I don't think there's enough sparkle. I'd up that glamour content as far as you can take it until everybody gets tinselitus!
You were also involved with Strictly Dance Fever.
Yes, I did all the designs and he [Mark] stuck all the sequins on. It was a collaborative effort.
Turning to your cabaret act, you're influenced by Cher, Marilyn Monroe and other great divas of our time, but rumour has it you mime.
Do I need a lawyer?
Clementine turns Christmas fairy
Martin, I am a doll, I have a voice chip inserted for each performance and that can be whoever. I never mime, it's all me. It's true.
You've created a unique version of Santa Baby, a song made famous by Eartha Kitt back in 1953. Was that fun to do?
I can't tell you! It was difficult and trying, but I'm all about giving - giving to the public so I persevered to create what I think of as a little Christmas gem.
You have a jet-set lifestyle, but do you get to come back to Norfolk much?
When I was first imported into this country I landed in Sheringham. As a tribute I thought I'd buy some property in there.
I've yet to see it, but it's got a moat and seashells around the door, but I think it might be subject to coastal erosion. I'm going to see it pretty soon, but it keeps bringing me back to Norfolk.
And what are you plans for 2008?
It's going to be a pink year. It's going to be Clementine's year.
I'm filming my biography and then I'm making a full-length live musical with the Little Angel Theatre in London which I hope to bring here to Norwich, to the Norwich Puppet Theatre.
It's going to be the story of rags to riches, hope, glory and pinkness.
last updated: 05/03/2008 at 19:48