Pam St Clement’s American road trip
Pam St Clement on why she tried marijuana in america for a new documentary
Pam St Clement is known to millions of us as chain-smoking Eastenders legend Pat Butcher. But the actress was puffing on something much stronger than cigarettes during her recent trip to America for ITV’S new documentary series Gone to Pot.
The three-parter sees Pam, along with Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson, entertainer Christopher Biggins, darts supremo Bobby George and former footballer John Fashanu, board a psychedelic bus to visit some of the American states where marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes is legal.
When TV Times catches up with them, Pam recalls the very first day of her cannabis odyssey, when she and Linda found themselves at a party in San Francisco…
‘We met a guy called “Harry the Hippy”,’ says Pam, 75. ‘He invited us to a party and when we walked in it was frightfully Sixties, with bongo drums and flower power everywhere. We felt out of place and then suddenly this joint was passed round. We thought, “Oh, go on, it would be rude not to!” It was so relaxing and we ended up chatting and giggling for hours!
‘I smoked cannabis at a party when I was younger,’ she continues. ‘But that was years ago. I don’t even smoke cigarettes, which is funny because, as Pat, I was always lighting one, holding one or putting one out!’
over the course of the series, the celebrities embark on very personal journeys, which left them questioning whether Britain should also legalise marijuana.
‘There were definitely differences of opinion,’ says Pam. ‘One day we’d say, “We’ve got to legalise this, medically and recreationally.” Then the next day we might change our minds depending on who we met.’
Pam will never forget the day she raided an illegal cannabis farm.
‘That was so exciting,’ she says. ‘When does an old biddy like me get the chance to follow a SWAT team into a raid? They were all in their gear with their weapons loaded.’
A more reflective moment was when the group met Dr Bonni Goldstein, who uses medical cannabis to treat seriously ill people, including 13-year-old Jana.
‘Jana had been having epileptic fits and seizures since she was little,’ explains John, 55. ‘But since Dr Bonni treated her with cannabis oil, they’ve all but stopped. It’s improved her life unbelievably.’
Yet medicinal marijuana isn’t a new subject for Linda, who knows all too well about the drug’s powers.
‘My stepdad had bad arthritis and a joint was the only thing that helped him with the pain,’ says Linda, 59. ‘I first found out about cannabis oil a few years ago when I made friends with a little boy on Twitter who had a rare form of cancer and was given a one-ineight-billion chance of survival.
‘He started taking cannabis oil and the cancer disappeared. If a family member was seriously ill, I’d get them cannabis oil straight away because I’ve seen what it can do.’
This joint was passed round. We thought, ‘Oh, go on, it would be rude not to!’ Pam St Clement
Joint account: Christopher, John, Pam and Linda discover the medicinal benefits of marijuana
Big smoker: Pam as Pat in Eastenders