Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fairy godmother in permit mix-up

American actress Stefanie Powers missed her pantomime performance as the fairy godmother in Southampton when she was held up over a work permit mix-up.

The 66-year-old, who is starring in Cinderalla at the Mayflower Theatre, was detained by immigration officials at Heathrow on Wednesday.

She had flown in from Los Angeles but a copy of her work permit was lost and her passport unstamped.

The show's lawyers resolved the matter but Ms Powers missed her performance.

The actress, most famous for starring in the US show Hart to Hart, said: "I am delighted to have returned to Southampton even though there was a slight delay checking my fairy credentials by British immigration.

"It may have been inevitable, but how many fairy godmothers can they deal with on a daily basis at this time of year?"

She is due back on stage later on Thursday.

A spokesman for the theatre said: "Ms Powers was stuck at Heathrow for over an hour and no amount of wand waving seemed to be able to magic her free from the ugly sisters of immigration and border control."

The actress had flown back to America on New Year's Eve because her 96-year-old mother was taken ill and subsequently died.

A spokeswoman for the UK Border Agency confirmed that a 66-year-old woman was questioned briefly and asked to prove her right to work in the UK.

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