Paul O’Grady’s Favourite Fairy Tales

“It’s only when you get older that you wonder where did this come from, how did you invent a magic mirror, seven dwarves in a diamond mine, and why do children today, hundreds of years later, still find them fascinating?”

Paul O’Grady travels to Germany and into the world of his fairy tale heroes – the Brothers Grimm. This is a world that inspired the children’s films we have all grown up with, but as Paul discovers, like with all forms of magic, there’s more to fairy tales than first meets the eye.

On fairy tales, Paul says: “My first memory of a fairy tale is me dad taking me to the Essoldo (cinema) in Birkenhead to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And we only got as far as the opening credits and the queen walking up the steps and the music to magic mirror on the wall, and I screamed the place down and I had to be taken out.”

Paul explores the landscapes, picture-book castles and chocolate-box villages that inspired his favourite stories; from the land of the Seven Dwarfs to the castle where a Rapunzel is said to have been held.

Paul says: “I’ve always found fairy tales intriguing – stories of cursed princesses, evil queens, charming princes, and above all, a happy ending. For years I’ve been playing those well-known characters on stage in panto, and children love them. So I became fascinated by the origins of the tales.”

Amidst this fantasy world of wonder, magic and enchantment, there’s a real life narrative of how Paul’s own favourite stories – Cinderella, Little Red Riding hood, Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty – were put together and how they have evolved over the centuries. This is a story of darkness as well as light that’s as fascinating as the fairy tales themselves.

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