Gemma Arterton salutes Dagenham’s dames

Gemma Arterton

 

David Walliams, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Mel C were among the celebs who gave Gemma Arterton a standing ovation following her opening night performance in West End musical Made In Dagenham.

The former Bond girl makes her singing debut in the show, starring as Rita O’Grady, the woman who led the 1968 Ford sewing machinists’ strike demanding equal pay for women.

Gemma, 28, had tears in her eyes as she was joined on stage for the curtain call by four of the original Dagenham ladies, Sheila Douglass, Vera Sime, Eileen Pullen and Gwent Davis.

And a stellar audience, which included Jimmy Carr, Jenny Eclair, Ben Miller and Rufus Hound joined in a standing ovation, at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

Gemma, who donned a black PVC dress by Erdem at the after-party, said it had been an “emotional” night.

“I’m just so proud of the whole company and it’s a subject very close to my heart, so I’ve invested a lot in it,” she said.

Speaking about the real Dagenham ladies, she said: “I was really moved then, I was very emotional, just to know that everything that we’ve been doing for the last three years is because of them. I was really proud, and just so grateful. And it was so lovely that they got this huge applause and I think they were quite overwhelmed.

“Every single night I think about them and I think about the continuing story of women’s rights. It just feels so current and so vital.”

The actress has given up drinking to preserve her voice, but confessed she planned to indulge just for opening night.

She said: “I don’t drink alcohol. I am going to have one glass of wine tonight. I steam every day and I try not shout or do anything to strenuous.”