Jodie Prenger tells Katherine MacAlister she’s looking foward to playing the baddie in musical Annie

Playing the baddie is more character building than you think, according to Jodie Prenger.

Having to harbour boos and hisses from the audience night after night requires a thick skin.

But Jodie, winner of BBC television series I’d Do Anything in 2008 is relishing every minute and says that playing the evil orphanage manager is enormously refreshing.

“I can’t wait. Miss Hannigan is such a character. It makes me realise what I’ve been missing out on all these years. And I’ll be in Oxford over Christmas, and it’s so beautiful there, so I’m very excited.

“It’s just a couple of days now until we put our slap and wigs on and get out there.”

Last here playing lead roles in Spamalot and Calamity Jane, Jodie is big news on the musical front.

Winning the role of Nancy on the BBC reality show, she hasn’t looked back since and is in massive demand. “I think I proved that your turn does come round. You just have to prove your worth, but that’s the story in life so I just try to continually be the best I can be, to thank all the people who voted for me.

“And while I do believe it was about being in the right place at the right time, I never stopped believing that it would happen. So always follow your dreams.”

A bit like Annie, the orphan she lords it over, who never gives up on finding her real parents, despite Miss Halligan’s continual attempts to ruin everything for her.

“Annie is such a lovely Christmas story,” Jodie, 36, agrees when I interrupt her mid rehearsals.

“So if you don’t fancy going to the panto, then this is the show for you, a family extravaganza. People tear up watching it. I saw a 50 year-old man in the audience in the first leg of the tour with tears running down his cheeks, so it has certainly withstood the test of time.”

As for playing Miss Hannigan, Jodie says: “I’m just enjoying it because she is so bitter and twisted. And although shouting at people all the time and being so mean does not come easily to me, she is one of those characters that you have to throw everything into, to create something really unique because every song is a story, and while Miss Hannigan wants diamonds and pearls, all she gets is little girls."

With eight shows a week to perform in Oxford, Jodie is glad it’s a fun part. “Annie The Musical is such a spectacle with a real wow factor. It’s pure Broadway with amazing costumes and a really sweet story which has such a wide appeal for all ages “So while I still get butterflies in my stomach before every performance, I’m also like a kid in a sweetshop.

“I just want everyone to know I’m a nice person really,” she laughs.

Annie is at Oxford’s New Theatre from December 15 to January 3. Tickets are £12.50-£45 plus transaction fee from