Byline: Fay Schlesinger
WHEN Linda Lusardi realised a traffic jam was going to make her late for her performance as the Wicked Queen in panto, she decided there was only one way the show could go on.
The former topless model dialled 999 and asked if it was possible to use the hard shoulder on the M25 to bypass hundreds of queueing vehicles.
Sadly for her, the reply from police was one familiar to generations of panto fans - Oh no, it isn't.
They said her request was 'absolutely inappropriate' and told her to wait for the traffic to ease, just like every other driver.
The incident happened on Saturday afternoon as the 50-year-old actress was on her way to the Swan Theatre in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, where she is appearing in Snow White.
Miss Lusardi is thought to have been travelling to the theatre with her husband Sam Kane and daughter Lucy, who are also in the show, when they were caught in heavy traffic at junction 16 on the motorway.
A spokesman for Hertfordshire Police said: 'At 1.30pm on Saturday we received a phone call from Linda Lusardi asking if she could have emergency permission to use the hard shoulder as she was late for her pantomime.
'The request was denied. Being late for work is not a reason to call 999 or use emergency measures. This was absolutely not appropriate use of the emergency number or of police time.' A source added: 'One of our officers told her that the hard shoulder was there for emergencies only and that she would have to wait - just like all the hundreds of others in the slowmoving queue.
'There was no way the police were going to turn a blind eye to her using the emergency slip road just to get to work on time. …