|Birthname:||Bonita Melody Lysete Langford|
|Born:||22 July 1964|
|Notable Role:||Mel Bush in Doctor Who|
Bonita Melody Lysette "Bonnie" Langford (July 22, 1964) is an English actress and entertainer. She came to prominence as a child star in the early 1970s then subsequently became a companion of Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy's Doctor Who and has appeared on stage in various musicals such as Peter Pan: The Musical, Cats and The Pirates of Penzance. After a brief hiatus she has returned to screen and stage following her acclaimed performances on celebrity talent show Dancing on Ice.
Langford attended The Arts Educational School and the Italia Conti Academy stage school. Her first stage appearance was at four months and her first public appearance was at 15 months when she danced in specially made ballet shoes. She first came to public attention when, aged 6, she won the talent show Opportunity Knocks. This led to early fame in the television series Just William, the 1976 film Bugsy Malone and the 1977 film Wombling Free. At this time, she was associated with fellow child star Lena Zavaroni.
Between 1986 and 1987 Langford played the role of Mel, companion to both the Sixth and Seventh Doctors in the classic science fiction series Doctor Who. She returned to the role in 1993 for Dimensions in Time, a special charity Doctor Who/EastEnders crossover episode as part of the BBC's Children in Need. She continues to reprise the role in audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions (eleven to date, including the episodes The One Doctor and The Fires of Vulcan).
Langford was a featured dancer in BBC One's popular light entertainment series The Hot Shoe Show which she co-presented with Wayne Sleep. On 23 October 2005, she performed in Children Will Listen, a 75th birthday tribute to Stephen Sondheim at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.
Langford is a panto regular. In 2004–05 she played the title role in Dick Whittington and His Cat and the following season she played Prince Charming in Cinderella.During the 2008/09 pantomime season, Langford appeared as Peter Pan at the Richmond Theatre in Surrey.
In 2006, Langford was a celebrity contestant in the first series of ITV's Dancing on Ice, partnering professional figure skater Matt Evers. Their routines were characterised by the dramatic lifts and tricks they performed and were amongst the most ambitious in the competitions. Viewers saw Langford bang her head as she was spun on the ice during rehearsals, illustrating the danger of some of the moves they were attempting. Their appearances were also notable for the differing reception they received from the panel of judges (which consistently voted them highly, awarding them the highest total scores and the only two maximum scores from individual judges) and the voting public (who twice placed them in the bottom two pairs, forcing a "skate off" to remain in the competition). They finished in third place overall.
Langford and Evers appeared again on the programme in the one-off Champion of Champions show which followed series two. They were scored second overall by the judging panel but again the public vote was less favourable and they were amongst the four teams eliminated in the first round of the competition. Langford then toured with Torvill and Dean's Dancing on Ice Live in 2007, a series of 42 shows in which she was the winner 27 times.
Langford took part in the 2008 tour which started in April 2008.Teamed with new skating partner Pavel Aubrecht she again impressed the judges & fans with two new superb routines however the competition was extremely high with many of the celebrities winning the shows & in the end Bonnie won 7 of the shows.
Langford's appearance on Dancing on Ice sparked a regeneration in her career. She returned to the West End theatre in April 2006 (for the first time since 1998) playing the murderess Roxie Hart in the long-running West End musical Chicago and again in Dec 2007-Feb 2008 in the same role, also in 2006-7 she appeared in the Birmingham and Plymouth tours of Guys and Dolls playing Miss Adelaide Adams, a dance hall hostess. Starting in 2006 she has also been touring with Sandi Toksvig in a two-woman theatrical show called Short and Curly.
She has also made a number of guest appearances on television, including Agatha Christie's Miss Marple on ITV (playing Betty Johnson alongside Brian Conley in the episode By the Pricking of My Thumbs, February 2006), The Catherine Tate Show (late 2006), Supermarket Sweep with Dale Winton (February 2007) and the children's programme Hider in the House (March 2007).
In July 2007 she was a judge on the ITV series . Starting on 16 February 2008, Bonnie was 1 of 5 celebrities making up team Ant for their new team game Ant versus Dec in Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.She survived right up until the final edition, reaching the semi final stage & just missing out on the final which waseventually won by team Dec.
Langford received a fair amount of criticism in her early career, as she had been widely perceived as overly precocious. Noel Coward reportedly made the comment after seeing a play in which the young Langford appeared, and in which a horse had also defecated on the stage, "If they had shoved the child's head up the horse's arse they would have solved two problems at once." . Langford herself told interviewer Michael Parkinson on his television chat show, that Coward had said the best way to improve the play was to "cut the second half and the child's throat!"
Langford has supported the BBC's Children in Need appeal (1993) and Comic Relief appeal (2007). For the latter she appeared in the video for the charity single I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers, Peter Kay and Matt Lucas.
She has also appeared in celebrity versions of game shows to support Childline when she played in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? alongside Anton Du Beke in December 2006, and the CdLs Foundation on both The Weakest Link in January 2007 (which she won) and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, this time alongside Jason Gardiner, in January 2008.
Langford lives with her husband, fellow actor Paul Grunert (most notable for appearances in ChuckleVision) whom she married in Mauritius in 1995 , his daughter from a previous marriage, and their daughter born in 2000.