IT WAS back in 1987 that Patrick Swayze memorably insisted that ‘nobody puts Baby in the corner’, before sweeping her off her feet and over his head to the strains of Time of My Life.

The story of teenager Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, on holiday with her family in early 60s America when she falls for sexy dance pro Johnny Castle, inspires real devotion from fans.

So to recreate some of the movie magic on stage is no mean feat. Just ask former Bournemouth boy, Paul Elliott.

Paul is the executive producer of Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage - which leaps into life at Bournemouth Pavilion on Monday.

Although Paul spends most of his time in London, he says he always enjoys returning to his former stomping ground. He was made a fellow of the Arts University Bournemouth in 2012 and received an honorary MA in 2015. When we meet, he is in town to attend the university’s graduation ceremony at the BIC.

“I come back every year to present prizes to students and talk to students. If they ask me for any advice, I say - don’t do it,” he laughs.

“Bournemouth has changed beyond all recognition. Over the years I’ve been coming back for various things like pantomime and shows, and every time I come there is something new.”

Paul is such a charismatic and entertaining character that you could mistake him for a distinguished actor, but he says he is much happier to stay behind the scenes.

“I did appear in one of my productions in London many years ago. I’d agreed to be the second understudy, never thinking I would ever have to actually go on and perform. It was quite a small part, but I ended up having to cover for a few shows.

“It was all very strange. I’d learnt the speech - fortunately. I went on for the afternoon show and I was OK - even though everyone was thinking look at the guv up there. The second time I was gone, I lost it. I didn’t know what I was doing - it was awful. I promised myself never, ever again and I haven’t - and that was in 1998.”

When I ask if the experience made him more sympathetic to his cast members, he laughs and says: “No not a bit!”.

For if anyone know the business of show business it’s Paul. He has produced or co-produced a wide variety of shows over his career including The Buddy Holly Story which played for 13 years in the West End and more than 450 pantomimes. Paul’s first comedy, There’s No Place Like Home, has been produced for three UK seasons. His other works including co-writing Hot Flush and working with household names like Kevin Spacey and Kristin Scott Thomas.

he has just finished working on The Bodyguard in Toronto and Mrs Henderson Presents.

He took on Dirty Dancing five years ago and has taken the show on tour in Australia, Italy and France.

“This is our first visit to Bournemouth,” he explains.

“The show is much mobile now, We can do a week rather than several weeks at a time and visit new venues.

“It’s an all expandable set so we can play tiny theatres like Grimbsy! You still get to see all the scenes and all the music that was in the original film.

“It is a big company though because of the nature of the show - it is very demanding so you need several people to play Johnny Castle. We have a crew of 16 just to get the set up and down.”

This production also marks one of the final chapter’s in Paul’s career as he plans to retire on June 8 next year - exactly 60 years after he first started so he is pulling out all the stops.

As to what the audience can expect from the new production, he hands over to the show’s writer Eleanor Bergstein.

Eleanor explains that they wanted to create something that could stand on its own for both for theatregoers who haven’t seen the movie and those who have.

“Theatre has allowed us to expand our canvas. there are more scenes, more Baby and Johnny scenes exploring their relationship. The action is set more firmly in the summer of 1963, the summer of Martin Luther King’s , I Have a Dream speech.

“What was happening in the world was integral to what was happening to our people. And there is lots more dancing. Overall, more than 40 per cent of the material is new. There are 20 new songs and 25 new songs, most of which are performed live.”

n Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage is at the Pavilion from Monday, August 21 to Saturday, August 26. To book, visit or call 0844 576 3000.