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WATCH: Ex-chorus girl and pub owner's memories of a teenage Olivia Colman

PUBLISHED: 17:42 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:42 10 January 2019

Former tap dancer and chorus line dancer, Marjorie Davies, who is soon to celebrate owning the King's Arms at Blakeney for 43 years, and remembers when actress Olivia Colman worked there when she was a student at Gresham's.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Former tap dancer and chorus line dancer, Marjorie Davies, who is soon to celebrate owning the King's Arms at Blakeney for 43 years, and remembers when actress Olivia Colman worked there when she was a student at Gresham's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A pub landlady and ex-chorus line girl who has been pulling pints in north Norfolk for 43 years has told of her memories of hiring the award-winning actress Olivia Colman for a summer job.

Marjorie Davies, 76, who owns The King’s Arms in the seaside village of Blakeney, described the star as “lovely”.

Mrs Davies and her late husband, Howard, took over the pub more than four decades ago, after careers in touring theatre.

Over the years the couple employed a steady stream of sixth-form pupils from the nearby Gresham’s School in the summer holidays.

And for a few months in the early 1990s, one 17 or 18-year-old student washing up and waiting tables was no other than a Golden Globe and BAFTA winning star: Norfolk’s own Olivia Colman.

Olivia Colman in Prime of Miss Jean Brodie during the winter school term of 1991-92. Photo: Gresham's School archive.Olivia Colman in Prime of Miss Jean Brodie during the winter school term of 1991-92. Photo: Gresham's School archive.

Mrs Davies said: “It must have trickled down the grapevine that my husband and I were both ex-theatrical people.

“We had lots of students come to us during the holidays, and Olivia was one of them.

“I think it was 1993, so I don’t know if she was old enough to pull pints.

“But she would have been washing up and waitressing.

Former tap dancer and chorus line dancer, Marjorie Davies, who is soon to celebrate owning the King's Arms at Blakeney for 43 years, and remembers when actress Olivia Colman worked there when she was a student at Gresham's.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFormer tap dancer and chorus line dancer, Marjorie Davies, who is soon to celebrate owning the King's Arms at Blakeney for 43 years, and remembers when actress Olivia Colman worked there when she was a student at Gresham's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We all do a bit of everything at the pub - I still come and work behind the bar if they need me.

“Gresham’s being a theatrical school, people came to see us.

“She was pleasant and smiley - all the Gresham’s girls and boys were a lovely bunch of children.

“Some of them were the sons and daughters of doctors and accountants.

Olivia Colman with her upper sixth theatre studies classmates during the 1992-93 school year. Photo: Gresham's School archive.Olivia Colman with her upper sixth theatre studies classmates during the 1992-93 school year. Photo: Gresham's School archive.

“You can imagine how many students I got through.

“They’re all fairly successful in their own way.

“But when she left Gresham’s and left me she went on out into the big wide world.”

Mrs Davies, who still tap dances with the Blakeney players, added: “Olivia had lots of connections with Blakeney with her parents.

Former tap dancer and chorus line dancer, Marjorie Davies, who is soon to celebrate owning the King's Arms at Blakeney for 43 years, and remembers when actress Olivia Colman worked there when she was a student at Gresham's.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFormer tap dancer and chorus line dancer, Marjorie Davies, who is soon to celebrate owning the King's Arms at Blakeney for 43 years, and remembers when actress Olivia Colman worked there when she was a student at Gresham's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“They lived in the area and I believe she was born around here.

“Her mother was a nurse and there was another friend of mine who had a baby at the same time.

“Blakeney was holiday cottages then, and for young mothers with babies it was a bit lonely.”

And Mrs Davies added: “She does pop in for a drink or meal sometimes, as she lives this way.”

The Colman family: (L-R) Caroline Colman, Percy Colman (Paternal Grandparents), Mary Colman (Mother), Keith Colman (Father), Olivia Colman (child in the middle), Patricia Leaky and Alexander Graham Leakey (Maternal Grandparents) - Family photo at Keith's graduation c.1980  (C) Mary Colman - Photographer: UnknownThe Colman family: (L-R) Caroline Colman, Percy Colman (Paternal Grandparents), Mary Colman (Mother), Keith Colman (Father), Olivia Colman (child in the middle), Patricia Leaky and Alexander Graham Leakey (Maternal Grandparents) - Family photo at Keith's graduation c.1980 (C) Mary Colman - Photographer: Unknown

Marjorie Davies’ former theatre career:

Owner of The King’s Arms, Marjorie Davies, is no stranger to the spotlight.

Mrs Davies met her late husband Howard, who died five years ago from prostate cancer, aged 82, when she was a chorus girl in a touring production of the classic musical My Fair Lady.

She said: “I was a dnacer and a chorus girl - I trained at the Arts Education school in London and auditioned for My Fair Lady while I was still at school.

The King's Arms at Blakeney. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe King's Arms at Blakeney. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I toured all over the country and met my husband as he was playing [the male lead role] Freddie.

“He was a lovely Welsh tenor singer, so we were both ex-theatricals.

“We toured lots of shows: My Fair Lady and The Black and White Minstrel Show.”

And memories of that time are proudly on display at the pub.

Former tap dancer and chorus line dancer, Marjorie Davies, who is soon to celebrate owning the King's Arms at Blakeney for 43 years, and remembers when actress Olivia Colman worked there when she was a student at Gresham's.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFormer tap dancer and chorus line dancer, Marjorie Davies, who is soon to celebrate owning the King's Arms at Blakeney for 43 years, and remembers when actress Olivia Colman worked there when she was a student at Gresham's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mrs Davies said: “There’s lots of theatrical pictures on the walls and every time we’re flooded I say we can’t put them back up and everyone says ‘oh you must’.”

Do you remember growing up in north Norfolk with the actress Olivia Colman?

Email reporter Jessica.Frank-Keyes@archant.co.uk

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