Victoria Melody tells KATHERINE MACALISTER why her latest show took so long to make

If you can, move hell and high water to get to Victoria Melody’s new show, because if nothing else you won’t see anything like it again.

Think of her as a real-life Louis Theroux who gets her hands dirty, meaning that earlier this year you could find Victoria spray-tanned and manicured in her attempt to become Mrs Glamour UK, as well as waking at 5am to begin her dog Major Tom’s arduous training schedule in their bid to win Crufts, all of which culminates in her new show Major Tom.

Having been fast-tracked at Edinburgh Fringe this year, Victoria is also popping into Oxford’s Burton Taylor Theatre at the end of what has been an extensive tour. But she is still as excited about it as ever, having kicked off her career as a social commentator with her first show Northern Soul last year in which she introduced the noble arts of of pigeon racing and soul music.

This time around the die was cast when she got a new dog and friends began encouraging her to enter Major Tom in dog shows. On winning everything they entered, Victoria then set her sights on the professional competitions, in particular Crufts.

Victoria had also sent her details off to a beauty pageant competition and was astonished when she was made Mrs Brighton. “Apparently I beat hundreds of hopefuls,” she laughs, “even though it was by postal vote.”

That was the beginning of her journey to become Mrs Galaxy UK because throughout the regional and national trials, Victoria had her eyes trained firmly on the crown. “Mrs Galaxy UK was perfect for me because you have to be aged 23 and over to enter and at 35 I was too old for normal beauty pageants,” she says.

An extensive fitness and beauty routine followed for months on end, much to her husband’s astonishment, and as most of the heats were up North, involved a lot of travelling. “He kept saying ‘this isn’t you, you’re a feminist’ when I took hours to get ready,” she remembers. “But for me it was real. I had hypnotherapy, gastric bands and hair extensions and a spray tan,” she admits. “I became very vain and competitive.”

“But then my work has always been more participatory because I get very involved in it, which is the interesting part of the show for me when real life morphs into this fantasy world and makes you ask where art ends and real life begins.”

Ask about the people she encountered however and the Chelsea College of Art graduate doesn’t have a bad word to say about anybody, refusing to parody them. “The girls were really nice and pleasant. I was always honest about what I was doing and why. But I thought they were all really brave and very interesting, so while I’m a bit cheeky I would never upset anybody and am very careful not to exploit anyone I worked with.”

Major Tom has been years in the making, and while other comedians and performance artists can throw a show together in a few months, Victoria’s are painstakingly crafted. “The research is paramount for me because I’m not just reporting, I’m involved in it. And I can’t just pluck topics out of thin air.”

But once presented, the Brighton lass is remarkably unjudgemental. “I present myself in other people’s worlds and then allow the audience to draw their own conclusions, so I try not to have an opinion.”

With two shows under her belt however, Victoria says her chosen career is getting easier as she goes along, although whatever she’s got up her sleeve next is anyone’s guess.

Major Tom sees Victoria Melody return to the BT Studio for one night only on Tuesday. Call the box office on 01865 305305 or see