IT was 20 years ago that a group of ordinary WI members took the world by storm posing nude for a fundraising calendar.

Their incredible story inspired a 2003 British comedy film and an award-winning musical which played a six-month London season in 2017 – after playing sold-out seasons in Leeds and Manchester.

The show has, to date, raised more than £5m for the Bloodwise charity in memory of one of the ladies' husbands, who lost his life following a battle with leukaemia.

Billed as a musical comedy, the show certainly has its fair share of laugh-out-loud moments, but I was struck also by how heart-wrenching the whole story was, shedding a tear or two alongside Sarah Jane Buckley as Annie, as she sang in wonderfully rich tones about how to reach things on the top shelf, and fold bedding on her own when her husband was gone.

Music-wise, there were a couple of stand-out, uplifting songs – one in particular instantly recognisable as a Gary Barlow classic – but I did feel, in parts, the singing was a little superfluous and it was sometimes hard to catch every word during some of the trickier melodies.

Of course, the comical highlight of the show is the calendar photoshoot, which was brilliantly choreographed and received rapturous appreciation from the audience at the cast's bravery as they stripped off in front of a packed auditorium.

Calendar Girls The Musical runs at Bournemouth's Pavilion Theatre until Saturday, September 21. Not to be missed – just make sure you take a tissue!