This year, once again the Trafalgar Theatre London hosted the UK Pantomime Awards- a wet and chilly night, but still the red carpet was laid outside the theatre welcoming performers and technicians, stage management and musicians, producers and marketing departments from pantos all over the land. In short- The Pantomime Family celebrating this unique British Entertainment!
Hosted by the UKPA the show was presented by its President Christopher Biggins. Chris has presented every year of the Awards, since their inception back in the day to a small group of Panto afficianodos, to its current glamorous full scale Awards Ceremony which, this year as always was run like clockwork- congratulations to Alicia and to Sam Munday -Webb for the slick and smooth evening of awards and speeches and performances.
This year the UKPA created the legend that is Derek Griffiths to be their Vice President. Derek- master of Panto Villainy and comedy has a long and enviable Pantomime career, and I can think of no one better to fill this role! The Chair is Simon Sladen of the V&A Museum, and Vice Chairs Susie McKenna and Sam Munday-Webb.
The trustees are Nick Humby, Alex Jackson, Chris Jarvis, Linda John-Pierre, David Lloyd Jones, Robert Marsen (Of Staffs University) and Laura Taylor.
The Evening was a glorious celebration of all things Pantomime, and a chance for all of us who work in this world of Pantoland to get together and meet up- something we rarely do, as we are always in a panto at the same time, from Scotland to Penzance, and rarely get to meet up, if at all! It also celebrates the amazing amount of hard work and skill that goes into presenting this entertainment, a Panto can often keep a theatre afloat and help subsidise its output for several months after the curtain has come down.
During this year’s show there was a moment to remember those who have left us in the past year. A very moving moment and a huge standing ovation and lengthy applause to commemorate those we have lost.
The awards and winners can be found here, on the UKPA’s website:
Here’s a short video of the event:
The venue was packed, and it was an honour once again to present an award along with Andrew Ryan for The Best Contribution to Music. The Winner was Emma Fraser, “Dick Whittington” at the Octogon Theatre, Yeovil. Here we are with Emma and Biggins .
So many friends in the building, impossible to name them all, and I was too busy catching up with everyone to take photos, but here are some from Social Media to give a flavour of the evening.
During the evening The special recognition awards (presented by Simon Sladen) included an Outstanding achievement award to Su Pollard (Join the club Su!) and An award to Sir Ian McKellan for his passionate advocacy and services to Pantomime. Sir Ian and his “Mother Goose ” Company won the Best Pantomime Award (500-900 Seats) and he gave a very warm and lovely speech to the Pantomime Family in the room. He and his company head off to Bristol Hippodrome for the last week of their Pantomime tour.
Sir Ian with Sarah Boden, Laura Taylor and Vernon Kay.
Vernon Kay won the Best Newcomer to Panto Award.
Jill Jordan (Doreen) with Joe McElderry
Doreen & Biggins
guest performers included Doreen Tipton, Myra Dubois, Gigi Zahir, Corey Watts, Jake England, Anna Jane-Casey, Katie Sanger & Chet Robertson, with the amazing cast of Disney Villains- Michael Batchelor, Cat Cunningham and Paul Hill with Ellie Carwithen, Dominic Charles, Danni Faulkener, Sasha Minakov, Bethany Mullen and Kayleigh Patient.
Many thanks to UKPA for a very lovely celebration and for honouring the world of Pantomime and all those who work so hard to create it each and every year.
If you have an photos of the evening you’d like to share on this page, please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
The UK Pantomime Association appoints Derek Griffithsas its inaugural Vice President
Derek Griffiths MBE, the highly-acclaimed and much-loved actor, children’s television presenter, composer and pantomime performer, has been appointed as the inaugural Vice President of the UK Pantomime Association.
Founded in 2021, the UK Pantomime Association is a charity that explores, shares and celebrates pantomime by investigating the genre’s rich past, engaging with contemporary practice and inspiring the future.
Derek Griffiths has played numerous pantomime roles over the years, both comic and villain, from Dick Whittington which he wrote, directed and composed at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, in 1976 to Beauty and the Beast, at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, in 2021. Special memories include the prestigious London Palladium 1987 pantomime Robin Hood and the Babes in the Woods with actress Barbara Windsor, who has one of The Pantomime Awards named in her memory. This was the final pantomime to play the Palladium until the welcome return of star-studded pantomimes at the venue in 2016. Derek also appeared with the UK Pantomime Association’s President Christopher Biggins in Mother Goose at Theatre Royal Brighton, and its Trustee Chris Jarvis in Peter Pan at The Hexagon, Reading, and in the CBeebies pantomime, A Christmas Carol.
Alongside his theatre work, Derek Griffiths has worked in television for many years from his early days on Play School and Play Away to most recently the hit drama series, Unforgotten.
Derek Griffiths said: “I am delighted and honoured to become the Vice President of the UK Pantomime Association. I understand the importance it holds in the UK Theatre industry. It is critical in introducing children to live theatre. I look forward to working with a great team of people who share the same passion, to help them promote and nurture pantomime for many future generations of theatregoers.”
Simon Sladen, Chair of the UK Pantomime Association, said: “We are delighted to welcome Derek as Vice President of the UK Pantomime Association. He is such an experienced, respected and loved performer, with a wealth of pantomime knowledge. We look forward to working together to champion pantomime; an artform we both care so much about.”
The UK Pantomime Association recently announced the nominations for The Pantomime Awards 2023 in association with Butlin’s. The Awards ceremony will be held at the Trafalgar Theatre, in London’s West End, on Tuesday 11April 2023, hosted by Christopher Biggins.
The UK Pantomime Association has announced the nominations for The Pantomime Awards 2023 in association with Butlin’s, ahead of the awards ceremony at the Trafalgar Theatre, in London’s West End, on Tuesday 11April 2023 at 7pm, hosted by Christopher Biggins.
The full list of nominations for The Pantomime Awards 2023 in association with Butlin’s:
Eddie Slattery – Beauty and the Beast, Swansea Grand Theatre, Swansea (Imagine Theatre)
Josie Lee – Dick Whittington, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil (Evolution Productions)
Karen Bruce – Jack and the Beanstalk, London Palladium, London (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Kerry Blaskett-Weatherall – Peter Pan, Regent Theatre, Ipswich (Enchanted Entertainment)
Stillie Dee – Jack and the Beanstalk, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Best Comic sponsored by Santa Himself
Adam C Booth – Cinderella, Grand Opera House, Belfast (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Adam Colbeck-Dunn – Cinderella, Palace Theatre, Newark (Jordan Productions)
Gavin Jon Wright – Sleeping Beauty, The Gaiety, Ayr (In-House)
Matt Slack – Dick Whittington, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Ruby Ablett – Dick Whittington, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge (In-House)
Best Costume Design
Adrian Gee – Robin Hood, Theatr Clwyd, Mold (In-House)
Becky Minto – Jack and the Beanstalk, Perth Theatre, Perth (In-House)
Dawn Allsopp – The Legend of Robin Hood, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Bury St Edmunds (In-House)
James Button – Cinderella, Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury (In-House)
Jasmine Swan – Beauty and the Beast, Mercury Theatre, Colchester (In-House)
Best Dame sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment
Ben Roddy – Sleeping Beauty, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (Evolution Productions)
Brian James O’Sullivan – Maw Goose, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling (In-House)
Clive Rowe – Mother Goose, Hackney Empire, London (In-House)
JP McCue – Cinderella, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa (Imagine Theatre)
Phylip Harries – Robin Hood, Theatr Clwyd, Mold (In-House)
Darren O’Sullivan – Cinderella, South Holland Centre, Spalding (Polka Dot Pantomimes)
Estelle van Warmelo – Beauty and the Beast, The Courtyard, Hereford (In-House)
Kathryn Rooney – Beauty and the Beast, King’s Theatre, Glasgow (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Paul Hendy – Sleeping Beauty, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (Evolution Productions)
Tamara Harvey – Robin Hood, Theatr Clwyd, Mold (In-House)
Best Ensemble sponsored by Stagecoach
Briana Craig, Ediz Ibrahim, Grant Thresh, Demi Leigh Foster, Megan Louch, Maxwell Trengove, Belle Kizzy Green, Ciro Lourencio Meulens, Zinzile Tshuma, Sally Jayne Hind, Alexandra O’Reilly, Jaydon Vijn, Emma Hunter, Andrew Lyle-Pinnock, Luke Woollaston and Lauren Stroud – Jack and the Beanstalk, London Palladium, London (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Grace Faulkner, Jack Trafford, Lucy Stewart, Molly Thorpe Franklin, Callum Fairfield, Lucy Deakin and Georgia Murray – Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Epstein Theatre, Liverpool (Regal Entertainments)
Kieran Lynch, Caitlin Mae and Charlotte Jean Moore – Snow White, Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock (Imagine Theatre)
Leo Burke, Nick Pack, Sophie Spencer, Daisy Ewing and Adam Russell-Owen – Cinderella, The Arts Centre, Hounslow (The Arts Centre Hounslow with Ashby Pantomimes)
Mairi Barclay, Adam Brown, Gabriel Fleary, Becca Francis, Shailan Gohil, Richard Leeming, Genevieve Nicole and Laura Tyrer – Mother Goose, Duke of York’s Theatre (Ambassador Theatre Group)
Best Lighting Design sponsored by Production, Light & Sound
Ben Cracknell – Cinderella, Grand Opera House, Belfast (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Bev Paskell – Cinderella, South Holland Centre, Spalding (Polka Dot Pantomimes)
Jamie Corbidge – Beauty and the Beast, Swansea Grand Theatre, Swansea (Imagine Theatre)
Kathryn Monkton – Dick Whittington, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil (Evolution Productions)
Sally Ferguson – Dick Whittington, Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham (In-House)
Carmen Silvera Award for Best Magical Being
Danielle Jam – The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Jo Osmond – Beauty and the Beast, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury (Evolution Productions)
Joe McElderry – Cinderella, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Lauren Azania – Cinderella, Lighthouse, Poole (In-House)
Leonardo Vieira – Aladdin, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne (Jordan Productions)
Best Contribution to Music sponsored by Howden Insurance Brokers
Emma Fraser – Dick Whittington, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil (Evolution Productions)
Miles Russell – Jack and the Beanstalk, The Hexagon, Reading (Imagine Theatre)
Philip Shute – Cinderella, Grand Opera House, Belfast (Crossroads Pantomimes)
Rob Green – Red Riding Hood, Everyman Theatre, Liverpool (In-House)
Tayo Akinbode – Robin Hood, Theatr Clwyd, Mold (In-House)
Best Early Career Newcomer sponsored by Staffordshire University
Eliza Walker – Peter Pan, Regent Theatre, Ipswich (Enchanted Entertainment)
Ewan Grant – The Legend of Robin Hood, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Bury St Edmunds (In-House)
Katsie Fong Frydenberg – Jack and the Beanstalk, The Hexagon, Reading (Imagine Theatre)
Nay-Nay – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,New Theatre, Cardiff (Crossroads Pantomimes)
When I knew I was going to be in “Goldilocks and The Three Bears” this season at the Richmond Theatre, It was a first for me. A subject I have never done, and a pantomime I saw only a few times, the most notable being Michael Harrison’s London Palladium production.
I really didn’t know when it became a pantomime, and how it ranked in order of our most recent. If “Snow White” is the “Baby” panto, dating after the Disney cartoon, and Peter Pan from J.M Barrie’s Edwardian play, then it was a surprise to discover “Goldilocks” is fairly recent. While some pantos date back to mid Victorian and earlier, this subject began in an infant form in the 1920’s. It did not become the full “Circus” themed show we know today until the 1950’s and even then the character names and plots were not settled until the Howard & Wyndham version- we have David Croft (of Dad’s Army Fame) to thank for that- he wrote the template version for H&W.
Here is Part One of the “Goldilocks” story- part two to follow AFTER I’ve completed my season in Richmond! This is a pretty comprehensive look at the beginnings of our tale, and will go from the Roaring Twenties up to the end of the Swinging Sixties.
GOLDILOCKS- Once Upon A Time…
The first Mention was in 1837 . Tthe Poet Robert Southey said he had learned it from his Uncle, William Dove. It had never appeared in print before.
It was Southey who immortalised the taleof the Three Bears. In “The Doctor”.
Over the next 75 years chief character (we now call her Goldilocks) changes from an ill tempered Crone to a radiant maiden.
The man who reduced her age is probably Joseph Cundall in 1849. In a letter to his children:
“The story of The Three Bears” is a very old Nursery Tale, but it was never as well told as by the great poet Southey… I have made the the intruder a little girl instead of an old woman. I did this because I found that the tale is better known with “Silver Hair”, and because there are so many other stories of old women”
“Silver-Hair” remains the usual name for the little girl for many years, in 1858 she is “Silver Locks”, in 1868 she is “Golden Hair”, and in 1904 in “Old Nursery Stories and Rhymes” she is finally “Goldilocks”. She has remained that ever since.
In the 1890 “English Fairy Tales” by Joseph Jacobs “The Three Bears” is the only example of the tale directly traced to an author) except for Robinson Crusoe- created by Daniel Defoe.
In 1894 Jacobs changes his tale-He had heard a tale of three bears who lived in a castle in a wood ,with their chairs, milk and beds.The intruder was a wily fox named “scrapefoot”. He surmised Southey mistook the name for a she-fox to mean an old harridan.
In 1951 a manuscript was discovered –a home made booklet- The Story of The Three Bears from 1831. “The Celebrated nursery tale”was put into verse and illustrated for little Horace Broke, by his Aunt Eleanor Muire- The intruder now is an Angry Old Woman, and the bowls contained milk, not porridge.
There are distant Origins: “Sneewitchen” (early Snow White/Snow Drop) In this tale she finds the house of seven dwarfs, tries out meals, tries out seats, tries outtheir beds. “Who has been eating off my Plate?”, “Who has been lying on my bed?” – they discover The Fairest Lady In The Land.
In a Norwegian Folk Tale, a Princess finds a cave inhabited by Three Bears, the meal includes porridge, and beds- she lies under the bed to hide. The Bears are in fact Russian Princes, who at night cast off their bearskins.
For this article the Title “Goldilocks And The Three Bears” is shortened to “Goldilocks” Throughout!
The first reference in 1900 of a FAIRY GOLDILOCKS was in “Babes In The Wood”, Manchester played by Lillie Brammer.
In 1922 there is a play, a modern telling of the story, set in Canada. It premiered at at Royal Court Liverpool.
THE FIRST REFERENCE TO A PANTO VERSION was in 1922
The Story of the pantomime remains fluid for its early years. The Circus element we come to associate with “Goldilocks” has not yet formed. Character names are yet to be settled. The Principal boy is Colin, or Victor, Lancelot, Rupert, Roland, or in one case Prince Charming.
The only slight reference to a Circus element being introduced is that the Principal Boy is sometimes a “Travelling Showman”, and the Robbers are sometimes showmen too.
The Comic can be Billy, Silly Billy or Sandy, or whiffles.
The villain in one version remains “Grab”, and a Baron and a Count appear with Fairy Queen and Demon King. In most versions Goldilocks is kidnapped and saved by the Principal Boy, often a Prince, aided by the Fairy.
The scenes are similar to other Nursery Rhyme pantomimes. One version has A toy fort, and a village called Bramblemere, and another a Bear’s hut that transforms in to a Snow scene. The most odd scenic change is described as “On The Nile”, before the happy ending in the Palace Beautiful. It is a Pantomime in progress through the 1920’s and into the 1930’s.
The Pantomime producers Howard & Wyndham were mainly responsible for putting “Goldilocks” into the major Theatres from the 1950’s and for the creation of the Circus storyline that we see today. By the mid 1950’s, in part thanks to David Croft (of “Dad’s Army Fame) the Pantomime plot began to encompass the Circus theme, the Dame as owner of a failing Circus, and adventures with the rival Circus Owner.The three Bears are responsible for saving the Circus.
JOHN HART’S “GOLDILOCKS & THE THREE BEARS”
JOHN HART produces “Goldilocks and The Three Bears”in 1922 at Manchester OperaHouse. The Following year it transferred to Leeds Grand, 1923-24, and then Bristol in 1924-25
Horace Mills played Dame, Norah Delany was “Colin” The Principal Boy. She sang “Shufflin’ Along”, “Keep On Smiling” and “That’s how I believe in you”. It played to large audiences.
The scenes included The Palace of Porcelain, The Throne Room, At The Zoo, and The Aerial Express.
John Hart’s “Goldilocks” played the Prince’s Bristol in the 1924-25 season, with Horace Mills, Johnnie Schofield and Dorothy Leigh as Victor with Denise St Leger as Second Principal Boy. Kit Keen was Captain Bullet, and Phyllis Goodwin was Fairy Queen. The role of Goldilocks was played by Beryl Lesley.
In 1923 John Hart’s “Goldilocks” transferred to The Leeds Grand Theatre.
In The Leeds season Horace Mills played Mrs Tippett, Benita Lydal was “Victor”, and Vesta Sylva was Goldilocks .Her father , the Mayor was played by Jack Tregale. Johnnie Schofield Jnr was Oswald.. The cast included Mabel Harley as Dolce, a Fairy.The pantomime ran for nine weeks.
Early Touring Versions- Goldilocks & The Three Bears was to become mainly a touring pantomime, playing three or four theatres in a season, sometimes extending into march for longer tours.
In 1923 two touring versions of “Goldilocks” appeared on the circuit. One produced by Leslie Lynn had in their advertising“Seven scenes, 25 real artists, clean comedy, latest songs and was beautifully dressed and staged”.
A second version of “Goldilocks”(1923-24) was created by Gilpin & Brennan, in “Nine scenes”. This version toured for several years, and featured Child Impressionist and Dancer Dorothy Owen as Goldilocks. With J. Clare-Ellis the comedian as “Mr Grab”.Lena Grant was the Principal Boy.
This version toured to Blackpool Hippodrome, Dewsbury, Wigan , Glasgow Metropole. It was to become an annual tour that eventually had 40 people touring, sometimes weekly!
The following year 1924 Gilpin & Bennan’s “Goldilocks” had Maud Hughes as “Colin” , Dorothy Owen as Goldilocks, and Tom Gott as Dame Brisket. Fairy Flautese was played by Elgar Hudson, and the company included the Brothers Dane, Elsie Green, Jack Ford and Jack Herbert.
At the end of the ten week touring season an advert appeared in “Stage” selling the entire production, followed shortly by an advert from Harry Gilpin (1924) stating he had purchased the entire Pantomime from Mr Bennan. He claimed the production made £800 net “last Xmas week”.
He continued to tour “Goldilocks , beginning at Oldham Grand, taking in Salford, Blackpool and Aberdeen on the season. Maud Hughes sang “Annie” and “In The Eyes Of The World” to standing ovations.
In 1924 Stage featured an article promoting Summer Pantomimes. “There is no reason why Pantomime should be an exclusive Winter Entertainment. For many years Belfast and York have had an Easter Pantomime..”
Harry Gilpin’s 1924-25 tour of Goldilocks took in Gloucester, Warrington, and the Royal Bolton and the Accrington Hippodrome. By 1925 his tour takes £1,864 nett for eight days Pantomime in a venue.
In 1925 Sheffield Phoenix presented “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” .
1925 saw the first resident Pantomime of “Goldilocks” since John Hart’s productions at Manchester, Leeds and Bristol had been performed.
The Moss Empire house Kings Theatre Edinburgh produced “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” which played to capacity until February 6th 1926. Harry Roxbury produced the pantomime.
Moss Empires said it would be “departing from the usual sterotyped subjects”, and the 19th Pantomime at the King’s opened to a great reception
.The Panto featured Tom. D Newell as Dame Diddledum, with Eve Lyn as Principal Boy, Tom Cable as Sandy, Prue Temple in the role of Goldilocks, and Frances Donking as The Fairy Queen.Victor Crawford played Baron and Norman Bowyer was The Count. The management employed a notable Opera artiste called Herbert Langley to play “Mysterioso”.
Fast forward to the current Crossroads Pantomime “Goldilocks” and there is a character of that name- co-incidence perhaps, or historical research- the name is there 97 years later!
Popular hit songs from this Panto included “There are no flies on Auntie” and “Why aren’t yez eating more oranges?”
Crook Royal Theatre presented a version of “Goldilocks”in 1926. Presented by Leon Dodd it boasted ten scenes, and featured Bunty Gordon as Goldilocks with Jennie Collins as The Prince Of Pleasureland. The Tyneside comedian Tommy Gibson also appeared. The production toured and announced that during February 1927 it played to 3,316 paid customers on one Saturday at Chester-Le-Street!
In February 1926 , based on the enormous success of the King’s Edinburgh “Goldilocks”, Moss Empires decided that this subject would open at The Theatre Royal Nottingham at Christmas.
125,000 people had enjoyed Goldilocks, and when it opened Nora Bancroft was Principal Boy, with Douglas Byng as Dame. Frances Dorking reprised her role as Fairy Queen, with Betty Eley as Principal girl and Alme Valdor as second girl. Her hit number was “The Ukelele Dream Man”.
The Comic, Al Marice played Goosey Fair, with Harry Ennor as Demon King and Victor Crawford reprising The Baron.
It ran for six weeks and closed on Feb 5th 1927. One of the specialities was by Frank and Albert, Animal Impersonators in a comedy Bullfight sketch. How times have changed!
The Director (as at the King’s the previous year) was Harry Roxbury.
During 1926 the now long running tour of Harry Gilpin’s “Goldilocks” continued to travel the country, along with his 40 artistes.Dorothy Owen was still appearing as was Ivy Lynn as “Boy” and Fred Morrisey as Dame.
The scenes in this panto were revealed in a review, and give very little insight into the shape of the plot. They included :
Billy’s Toy Fort, The Rose Ballet, The Home Of The Bears , On The Nile, and The Grand Palace.
Five years on from the first “Goldilocks” production, The Stage Newspaper published Pantomime Statistics. During the Christmas of 1926 the Stage listed 120 Pantomimes. The top popular subjects around the country were:
CINDERELLA 19 pantos
DICK WHITTINGTON 14 Pantos
ROBINSON CRUSOE 12 Pantos
BABES IN THE WOOD 11 Pantos
ALADDIN: 10 Pantos.
In London and Greater London there were Eight varieties of subjects on sale. Stage revealed in 1903 there were 33 Pantomimes in London, by 1922 there were 20. And by 1926 only 13.
This made up Three Robinson Crusoes, Two Mother Goose Pantos, Two Cinderellas and Two Aladdin pantomimes, one being at The London Palladium.
Goldilocks it said was “To The Fore” in NEW Pantomime subjects, with three provincial Pantomimes in 1926- Coventry, Barnsley Royal and Nottingham Theatre Royal.
The Coventry Panto was the long running lengthy touring version by Harry Gilpin.
Harry Gilpin’s touring “Goldilocks was at Crewe, as part of its tour. The Principal Boy character Colin is revealed in a review as “A Wandering Show Man”- the first indication of a possible early Circus theme? The Character of Grab, Dame Brisket remained the same, and the Three Bears were played frequently by Little Watts (Baby Bear), F.Leylere (Father Bear) and A.Dane (possibly wife of one of the Dane Brothers in the show) as “Mother Bear”.
That same year- 1927- Stage ran an advert – “Will Dalton looks for producer- one preferably who knows the subject- for a production of “Goldilocks”, along with A Dame and a Comedy dancing speciality act to “combine” the Three Bears.
Dalton & Robson take out a touring “Goldilocks” pantomime in 1927. It seemed to include the Robin Hood story. It boasted twelve scenes including The Village Green, The Fairies Enchanted Glen, The Barons Garden and The Palace. The characters rather confusingly included Maid Marion and Will Scarlet, with Peggy Mackintosh as Robin (Hood?) . The Three Bears were played by The Vardel Trio of Acrobats. Jimmie Pullen played The Dame.
In 1928 there were still only three touring Productions of Goldilocks in the country.
Four productions of “Goldilocks & The Three Bears”. in the UK
For the first time a resident major Pantomime house presented “Goldilocks and The Three Bears”, presented by the future King of Pantomime, Julian Wylie. His brother Lauri (later known for writing “Dinner for one” a cult hit in Germany) co wrote the musical score.
The Royal, Birmingham decided not to present “Mother Goose”, but to stage this fairly new subject, “Goldilocks”
Elsie Prince was Principal Boy,, Felice Lascelles was Goldilocks, With Jack Morrison as Dame Diddlem.
The name BETTY JUMEL appears in this production. She played Mavis. Betty was a diminutive fire cracker of a performer, who found fame in variety and radio, appearing in the 30’s & ‘40’s with Norman Evans in Humpty Dumpty.
The cast also included Harry Angers, as Handy Andy, Roy Barbour (of the Barbour dynasty- stilt walkers, puppeteers) as Count Wankipof and featured Bert Escott.
The Pantomime ran at Birmingham for eight weeks.
Continuing to tour in 1929-30 for 14 weeks was the Leon Dodd “Goldilocks” featuring Betty Stuart as Principal Boy, Betty Gordon as Goldilocks and Leon Dodd himself as one of the “Robbers”. The scenes described included The Ogre’s Cave, The Bear’s Lair, The Peasants meeting place, The Enchanted Garden and Father Christmas Land, a transformation from the Bear’s Hut.
Harry Gilpin’s touring “Goldilocks” was now on its seventh year with Dorothy Owen again as Goldilocks and with Gertrude Vernon as Colin. Fred Godfrey played Dame Brisket.
The innovation for 1929-30 was the inclusion of Three LIVE Bears to Robson & Palings long running tour of “Goldilocks. Laurie Wedburn as Goldilocks, Eve Linacre as Principal Boy and comedians Eddie Walker, Tom Hulme and Frank Bass.
The resident Pantomime version of “Goldilocks” was staged in the Howard & Wyndam Glasgow Royal in 1929.Howard & Wyndham became the only major producing company to present “Goldilocks” as a resident pantomime in their key theatres throughout the 1930’s into the 1940’s
Stewart Cruickshank presented Alma Barnes as Roland, the Principal Boy, Babbette O’Deal as Goldilocks, Tommy Lorne as Dame Diddledum, with other characters including Mysterioso, Sir Gorbals Cross, Fairy Benevolentia and the Tiller Girls.
This story has the villain kidnapping Goldilocks and wants to marry her. The Fairy enables Prince Roland to free her and all ends happily ever after.
“The Palace of Porcelain, with its rich blend of colouring, and its procession of beautifully dressed girls are in excellent taste”. (The Stage).
The Pantomime season of 1930-31 had four productions of “Goldilocks”. The Glasgow Royal, The Leon Dodd touring production, The Robson & Paling Tour, which began at The Chelsea Palace, and Harry Gilpin’s long running production, now on its eighth year.
In 1931-32 there was no resident production, but the same touring productions, and in 1932-1933 Leon Dodd’s tour took in Gateshead, South Shields and The Sunderland “Avenue”. It played to 5,500 customers on one Saturday for Moss Empires.
In 1935 The Howard & Wyndham production of “Goldilocks” opened at The King’s Theatre, Edinburgh. Harry Roxbury once again producing, it featured Margery Wyn as Valentine, Renee Foster as Goldilocks, Jack Hayes as Dame and Phil Strickland as “Whiffles”.
Scenes included The Magic Pool (possibly a Curries Water effect), The Alpine Forest, Shoeland and a flying ballet. It played to capacity houses throughout.
The Circus element makes a small appearance in this version with the inclusion of Shaw & Weston playing “Trunks” and “Tricks”, two travelling showmen.
The other productions that year were Bert Loman’s tour and Leon Dodd’s tour. Only three “Goldilocks” pantomimes that season.
The Howard & Wyndham “Goldilocks” transferred to Theatre Royal, Newcastle Upon Tyne for eight weeks. Margery Wyn played Lancelot, Principal Boy, With Jack Hayes as Dame Delphinium. Shaw & Weston played the Travelling Showmen with the Three Hiltons Acrobatic speciality. The Squire’s name in this production was Sir Rich Doolittle.
That same year saw the regular tours of Leon Dodd, featuring a female Dame- Flo Fellows “Lancashire’s Comedy Queen” and the Goldilocks tour of Bert Loman.
Bert Loman’s tour opened at the New Hippodrome, Manchester, again with a female Dame- Carrie Cole, and Felice Napier as Principal Boy. The comic in this version was now “Simple Simon”.
Leon Dodd continued his Goldilocks tour for the season, and The Palace Theatre Guernsey produced “Goldilocks” for the first time.
Joining the Bert Loman tours and the Leon Dodd Tours of “Goldilocks” , Will A Jackson presented a touring version with Beryl Leslie, Bobbie Bevens and Iris Boyers.
Leon Dodd himself played Dame in his tour, and Bert Loman’s Dame was once again Flo Fellows as “Dame Dumpling”- “A Buxom figure and Yorkshire accent”.
1939-1940 ENTERING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
During the war years mostly “Goldilocks featured as an infrequent touring pantomime. It would open in a theatre for two weeks or so, then tour (not easy during wartime restrictions) for a further six weeks.
One interesting thing to note is the name of the theatres the Goldilocks productions opened in, or toured to. All long gone.Generally now car parks and shopping malls and bus stations occupy the sites of these extravagantly named local palaces of pleasure.
During these uncertain times for Theatres, Howard & Wyndham presented their “Goldilocks” at the Glasgow Royal, with Dave Willis, Elizabeth French, Florence Hunter and the Comedy Duo who became among the top variety and early television stars, Jimmy Jewell & Ben Warris. The cast included Cliff Harley, Trudi Binar, Jean Inglis and the speciality The John Silver Trio.
Will Jackson presented his touring version, opening at the Royal, Rochdale- the Dame in this was called Dame Martha, with a comedy duo named “Tripp & Trott”.
Bert Loman’s tour opened at the Derby Grand Theatre, with Eddie Kayne as “Dame Dumpling”, and Leon Dodd continued to play Dame Dumpling in his tour of “Goldilocks” for eight weeks.
There was no Resident production. The Touring pantomimes continued into the War Years. Bert Loman’s “Goldilocks” still hadn’t settled on a regular name for the Principal boy. This time Biddy Brewin played “Ronaldo”. The speciality was “Calvin’s Canine Comedians”!
The Baron was Baron Hardbake, and a young actor called Arthur Leslie played the hunchback “Grab”- later he was to find fame in the new Television soap “Coronation Street” as the landlord of the Rover’s Return- as Jack Walker, husband of Annie Walker!
The tour began with two weeks at the Hulme Hippodrome.
The Bert Loman Pantomime “Goldilocks” played the Majestic Macclesfield. The opening date was listed as December 25th. By now no other productions of Goldilocks were evident, and touring became more arduous with wartime restrictions. The following year, 1942-43 The Stage has no references to any production of “Goldilocks”.
A return to the Howard & Wyndham production of “Goldilocks”, this year returning to the Kings, Edinburgh, the Head Quarters of the H&W Empire.
Adele Dixon starred as The Prince, with Jackie Hunter as Whiffles. Jack Hayes once again played Dame with Mary Naylor as Goldilocks. The Dance speciality – The Raya Sisters were billed as “Late of the Moulin Rouge & The Folies Bergere, Paris”.
“Lavishly spectacular, with a wealth of colour in costume and scenery, a bright and joyous affair”
The Pantomime put in a short “Harlequinade” sequence- Clown, Columbine and Harlequin” in the Palace scene.
That year Bert Loman’s touring “Goldilocks” opened at the Hanley Theatre Royal, and a new tour also went out under the management of Ernest Binns. Three productions in total;.
Howard & Wyndham’s “Goldilocks” transferred to The Theatre Royal Newcastle starring Jewel & Warris, now popular on radio and in variety. The Dame was once again Jack Hayes, and the Pantomime featured The Dolinoffs, and George & Jack D’Ormunde.
Frank Fortesque’s Touring panto Opened at the Royal Rochdale, then a six week tour.
Bert Loman’s “Goldilocks” opened at the Preston Hippodrome.
Ernest Binn’s tour opened at The Royal, Oldham
Four Productions in total in 1944.
There were six productions of “Goldilocks” in 1945.
The resident Panto was at The Liverpool Royal Court,for Howard & Wyndham, starring the famous tenor Joseph Locke as “The Wild Man of the Woods”. A fascinating career, and well worth googling his story, the basis of the film “Hear My Song”-(1991) The song he was to make famous the following year.
The Liverpool Goldilocks featured Dave Morris, with Betty Shaw as Dame, Eddie Henderson and George and Jack D’Ormonde.
The Stage Review of Liverpool said:
“The story is rediscovered by John Roker, and has been used to give a fresh treatment to Howard & Wyndham’s Pantomime. A one hundred year old bill from Her Majesty’s London gave him a clue to an original story of 700 years ago. “
The review continued : “The Village school room scene with Dave Morris as Whiffles, the village simpleton, and Eddie Henderson as Schoolmistress Sylvia is a delightful dignified impersonation of a Pantomime Dame. .. Amusing jibes at the government departments..”
The D’ormonde brothers playing “sack and Bustin, travelling showmen showed off their trick cycling skills. Josef Locke sang “Invictus” and duetted with the Principal Boy.
The other five Pantomimes were all touring, the regular producers – Fortesque, Binns, Leon Dodd and Bert Loman now joined by T.F Connery ‘s touring version.
This year there were the regular touring versions of “Goldilocks. Four productions in total.
Again this season there were four touring versions of “Goldilocks” around the country.
Bernard Delfont Ltd presented “Goldilocks” at the Swindon Empire, a production that starred Fred Gwyn as Dame, Ernie Leno and Eugene’s Flying Ballet. The specialities were Michelle and Arnova and the Twelve Westway Girls. This was not a Howard & Wyndham production, and a new production .
In addition The Tours of Bert Loman began at The Theatre Royal Hanley, Jack Gillam’s production opened at The Grand Theatre, Bolton, and Binn’s touring version opened at Ashton – close to Hanley, and Fortesque’s tour opened at Crewe.
The Grand Bolton touring panto had Rita Hunter as Robin (Principal Boy), Wendy Mcarthy as Goldilocks, The Three Bears were Fuzzy, Muzzy and Wuzzy, with Grab & Much as showmen, Baron Hardlot, and included characters Miss Muffett, Jack Horner, Dame Dumpling and Fairy Moonlight.
In 1949 the Stage Newspaper revealed a “top of the charts” list of the most popular main pantomimes in the United Kingdom. During this season the list ran:
24 Productions of “Dick Whittington”
22 Productions of “Cinderella”
17 Productions of “Babes In The Wood” & “Aladdin”, with a similar number for “Jack & The Beanstalk”, “Red Riding Hood”, “Robinson Crusoe”.
Goldilocks in 1949-1950 had 10 productions. The most this pantomime had ever had in one season.
Another new trend seemed to be emerging- one that we would not contemplate in this day and age- the introduction of “Live Bears” from Circus into some of the pantomimes. Mostly the roles were performed by actors and in many cases acrobats, but in a few cases there were live bears introduced.
That era seems a long time ago, but I recall seeing a production of “Goldilocks” in the late 1970’s-early 1980’s at The Theatre Royal, Hanley, with three bears briefly appearing. Along with “Siberian Tigers”. Chipperfields were involved in some productions of “Goldilocks”, and my friend Laura Nayman performed in the title role with live bears, later she became one of the first Ring mistresses for Chipperfields Circus.
Among the ten pantomimes produced in 1949 many were still touring productions- Bert Loman’s tour continued opening at The Tivoli Hull (now the site of a cake shop and café almost opposite the Royal Hotel) featuring Hans Brick’s Teddy Bears and Clown Hobbs and his performing dogs. The Circus theme to Goldilocks was in its infancy, but beginning to become interwoven with the plot.
Hinge Productions staged “Goldilocks” at the Byker Grand Theatre for a month, before touring. It featured Clown Characters “Flip & Flop” and the speciality by Jerry Builders.
Leon Dodd’s tours began at Bury, and the York Empire featured a Jack Gillam touring panto (previously at Bolton last season) with a speciality by Roy Castle. Frank Desmond featured alongside Tony Lester as Dame.
The Fortesque Tour began at The Royal, Stockport.
London saw “Goldilocks” open at The Brixton Express with Lucy Loup as Goldilocks, George Williams as Whiffles (an early appearance of the popular comic- catchphrase “I’ve not been well”, featuring live bears (Gulden’s three performing bears) and the Peggy O’Farrel Tiny Tappas.
Another production opened in Southsea. (Possibly at the King’s Theatre).
Live Bears again featured in the Newcastle Palace “Goldilocks” and at the Grand Theatre Southampton production.
Newcastle Palace featured The Karloff’s, an acrobat speciality, and also another “acro Spesh” in Babbette & Raoul. Beam’s Bonnie Babies performed alongside Berts Live Bears.
The hero in this pantomime was still a Prince.
The Grand Southampton Panto featured live bears, and the Lennox Three, with Harry Neal as chief comic.
The Binn’s tour began at The New Theatre, Crewe, with character names still Prince Lancelot, Dame Durden, Trip & Trop, The comic’s character still “Whiffles”.
Bert Loman opened his tour at The Liverpool Shakespeare Theatre for three weeks. His comic character was “Simple Simon”, played by Charlie Parsons.
The Alma, Luton had “Goldilocks” with Tony Lester.
London saw Goldilocks open at the Camberwell Palace, a Shenburn production. It was produced by Conrad Vince who also appeared as the Villain. It featured Walters Comedy Dogs, with Hal Blue as Mrs Tippett, Brena Gay as Principal Boy, and among the characters were a Mayor and a Captain Bullet.
About seven productions of “Goldilocks” this year, mostly the touring pantos
The Cambridge New had Lionel Edward’s production of “Goldilocks” “In a plot which has the fairy story as a basis, but takes liberties with detail, spinning out the tale to the required length” Something we’ve all participated in panto since the beginnings I believe!
This production featured live Bears.
Several of the regular touring versions of “Goldilocks” Leon Dodd, Ernest Binns and now Charles Denville presented the subject in The New, Cambridge, Kings Lynn Royal, Bedford Royal Country and Kiddiminster. No major residential panto this year. Hackney Empire received one of the weekly tours with Vogelbeins live bears and as Dame comedian Archie Glen as Mrs Tickle.
The Dodds, Loman and Gillam tours continued in weekly venues around the UK.
In Bath Frank Maddox presented Jimmy Mac, Moyna Cope and Trevor Moreton as Dame in “Goldilocks” .( I was fortunate to see Trevor’s Dame in the 1970’s).
At Norwich Hippodrome “Goldilocks” was presented on ice for five weeks, with three perfomances a day.
Tunbridge Wells presented Al Heath’s “Goldilocks. The character names and plot had yet to settle down. In this show the Dame is Dame Trott (Harry Tracy), The Principal Boy is Robin, with characters named The Earl of Manchester, The Fairy Queen, The Wicked Baron and Simple Simon. It featured Christina Glanville and her puppets.
In 1953 the Grand Swansea presented a Mannie Jay/Cyril Dowler “Goldilocks”. The three bears were Hans Petersens Three Performing Bears. Cyril Dowler played Simple Simon, and his wife Rhoda Rogers played Goldilocks. Marcia Owen was Principal Boy. (Colin). The female Dame was Hilda Heath, and featured Charlie Bale, and the panto included a trapeze and acrobatic act,The Flying Renos, and the 16 Singing Songsters- The Welsh Boys Choir. The Juveniles were from the Raie Hedges Tots. Raie became an institution in Swansea- she put juveniles into pantomimes at The Empire Theatre as well as at the Grand Theatre, and ran a dancing school for many years, her name then was Raie Copp. In the 1950’s my Mother, Dorothy helped to chaperone the children at the Empire Theatre, which was close to the family shop . My brother Vivyan was taught tap by Raie, and in the 1970’s she helped me with routines I could use in Summer Season. An amazing lady!
1954-56 GOLDILOCKS COMES OF AGE!
1n 1954 Howard & Wyndham presented “Goldilocks” at The Alhambra Glasgow.
Directed by Freddie Carpenter it starred Duncan Macrae as Dame and Betty Shaw as Goldilocks.
The Loman,and Forescue tours continued, while at The Southport Scala there was a rep Panto which has in the programme a Jean Alexander playing one of the three bears. The same Jean Alexander who was later to walk the cobbles of Coronation Street as Hilda Ogden.
In 1955 The Howard & Wyndham Pantomime “Goldilocks” transferred to The King’s Edinburgh. Jimmy Logan starred as “Sausage”, with Rikki Fulton in his first Dame role.
Rikki Fulton received some harsh revues from the critics, especially in one Scottish Sunday Newspaper. He went to print with his reply “Go jump in a lake!”
Directed by Freddie Carpenter the Pantomime featured Aberdeen’s Betty Shaw as Goldilocks, and Carol Eric. It featured the popular Australian act, The Six Flying De Pauls.
The 1955 Howard & Wyndham production was one of the first pantomimes to bring together all the circus elements and the storyline that we think of as “Goldilocks & The Three Bears” today.
The story featured Goldilocks as the daughter of the Dame- Meg Gemmell of Gemmell’s Circus. Rikki Fulton played Meg.
1956-1957- NEWCASTLE THEATRE ROYAL Howard & Wyndham “Goldilocks”
The author of the H&W Pantomime was DAVID CROFT (later to write and produce TV comedy series such as “Dad’s Army”, “Are You Being Served?”, “It ‘aint half Hot Mum”, “Hi De Hi” and many more).
“A circus story of considerable invention and charm, in which Goldilocks’s Mother owns a circus, and is desperate for a new act to boost its flagging fortunes”
This version is the forerunner for the versions that were to follow. In it Jack Tripp (later to be known as one of the great Panto Dames) played Jimmy the comic, and showed off his dance and comedy skills in a cod ballet routine.
The setting was Tyrolean. Heinkel was the name of the evil rival circus owner, Meg Gemmell was played by Tony Heaton
“not only does he have to make us laugh, but he has to act out two strongly dramatic situations as if taking part at The Old Vic”
Elizabeth French was Principal Boy, with the fifdteen year old Pat Laurence as Goldilocks.
The scenes included a Magic Fountain in The Ice Mountains, and ever the home of novelty, the panto introduced “Rock & Roll” to the audience, thanks to Freddie Carpenter, Director.
THE POP STAR INFLUENCE
Howard & Wyndham presented “Goldilocks” at The Liverpool Royal Court. Freddie Carpenter had introduced “Rock & Roll” into the previous year’s panto, and now presented the 21 year old Pop Star Tommy Steele to Goldilocks. The reaction from his fans on opening night was “noisy Enthusiasm”, and the “Stage” reported Tommy Steele stepped out of character telling them “You are spoiling the show. Keep quiet!” They reported “His words had the right effect!”
The pantomime did capacity business. It featured Rikki Fulton, Ann Howard, Patricia Laurence, and the young Petra Siniavski (later to star in “A Chorus Line”) in addition to the George Mitchell Singers.
Tommy was described as “not only a “pop” star, but a showman to his fingertips”
The Panto was up against another chart sensation Ruby Murray at The Empire, with Jewel & Warris.
Panto stalwart Clarkson Rose wrote an article , tongue in cheek about “the death of pantomime”, saying “Pantomime has had the cheek to emerge with the times and inveigle into its fold not only many of the old stalwarts of its tradition, but the mercurial Tommy Steele, up against such great pantomimists as Jewell & Warris”
The stalwarts of Edwardian Pantomime Dorothy Ward and husband Shaun Glenville were at the Pavilion Theatre in panto that year. Goldilocks had brought pop to Panto, and it was there to stay!
That year the Glasgow Pavilion presented “Goldilocks”. Jack Milroy and Robert Wilson (and his White Heather Group) starred, and The Patton Brothers (Jimmy and Brian) “get a spot for their eccentric tap dancing and prove especially popular with the children” (Stage 1957).
There were still touring versions of Goldilocks around the UK- Cyril Dowler, Gillam and several other.
The Freddie Carpenter choice of Tommy Steele was a stepping stone to the West End- The following year he was to star in Carpenter’s version of Rogers & Hammersteins’s Cinderella” at the London Coliseum as Buttons.
The era of the chart topping singers in pantomime continues:
Howard & Wyndham’s production of Goldilocks was co-presented at Blackpool WinterGardens by London Theatre Productions and Teneb Productions. It starred George Martin as The Odd Job Man, and Betty Jumel as Meg the Circus owner. Stewart Cruikshank supervised this unusual co-production and venue.
Meanwhile John Beaumont presented singing star Ronnie Caroll and Peter Butterworth at The Sheffield Lyceum’s “Goldilocks”.
York Repertory’s pantomime “Goldilocks” featured resident actors Trevor Bannister as Demon (Trevor was to star in “Are You Being Served” and played Dame frequently) and Once again Jean Alexander (“Coronation Street’s Hilda Ogden) as Fairy.
The Sheffield “Goldilocks” transferred to Leeds Grand with chart topper Ronnie Hilton, in his hometown) and Peter Butterworth as Dame with Joe Black. The Speciality act “The Falcons”, Eddie & Eileen appeared alongside the Hassani Circus Troupe, and the children were presented by Jean Pearce (Billy Pearce’s Mother). A name that appears in this show is familiar to Panto enthusiasts- Peter John, later to become a prolific Panto Dame and director.
The Connaught Worthing featured another chart topping singer, Alma Cogan in her hometown. Joe Church appeared alongside George Bolton as Dame. The young Goldilocks was twenty year old Helen Cotterill, now famed for her extensive career in Soaps, Comedies and classics on tour with Sir Ian McKellen.
The Swinging Sixties!
Howard & Wyndham continued to be the main champions of “Goldilocks”.
The Leeds Grand Panto transferred to Newcastle Empire with the same cast of Ronnie Hilton, Peter Butterworth (later of Carry On Fame) and The Falcons. “Brilliantly timed slapstick comedy act which hit the laughter jackpot with resounding success” (The Stage). I was fortunate to see Eddie & Eileen in panto at Swansea Grand in my youth. They were livewires of comedy!
1961 Howard & Wyndham open “Goldilocks” at The King’s Edinburgh with Larry Marshall (star of Scottish Televisions “One O’Clock Gang” and Una McLean as Meg the Circus Owner. Sally Logan played Goldilocks and Eileen Keegan was Principal Boy.The panto featured a bar swinging and contortion act “The Three Merkys”. Donald Peers , popular singer featured.
That same year veteran radio star Sandy Powell (catchphrase known to millions- “Can you hear me, Mother?) starred as Dame with Jimmy Mac as second comic in “Goldilocks”at The Theatre Royal Bath for Frank Maddox.
Bryan Burdon, son of veteran Panto star Albert Burdon toured in the Cyril Dowler “Goldilocks” featuring Franz Kreft’s Three Live Bears.
1962 saw Goldilocks transferring to the Oxford New, with Harry Worth & Peter Butterworth (as Rose Ringler). Harry Worth playing Professor Ringler, and Joe Black as the Circus handyman.
That year the most popular panto titles were (in order) Cinderella, Dick Whittington followed by Aladdin, Babes In The Wood, Mother Goose, Puss In Boots and Robinson Crusoe. There were 14 different subjects that season. The trend for the Male Pop Singer continued as Principal Boy. Growing up at Swansea Grand I saw the likes of Marty Wilde, Johnny De Little and other pop singers replacing the female Principal Boys, before the trend reversed, and along came the likes of Helen Shapiro, Susan Maughan and Cilla Black.
1963 Howard & Wyndham presented Goldilocks at Sheffield Lyceum with singing star David Whitfield (his statue faces the New Theatre Hull today) alongside impressionist Peter Goodwright and the Sahara Troupe. The panto ran through to March.
The Stage reviewer mourned the decline of the female “Boy”..
“No mere mortal, not even David Whitfield, can compensate for a striding purposeful buoyant Principal Boy giving that vital spark of real magic. Even so, he captivates young and old”
Goldilocks followed the next year at The Gaiety Dublin, with Olga Antonuchi and her performing chihuhuas- a nightmare for the printers I’d imagine!
Tom Arnold took the Sheffield Goldilocks to Leeds Grand (1964) with the same cast- this time the Charifien Troupe of acrobats appeared.
In 1965Glasgow Alhambra welcomed the David Croft version of Goldilocks (Howard & Wyndham) directed again by Freddie Carpenter, starring Andy Stewart and Johnnie Beaattie as Dame, alongside the popular “Three Monarchs”. The Dancers were from Norman Maen.
In Worthing Joyce Blair (Lionel’s sister) starred as Goldilocks with Donald Peers and veteran George Bolton as Dame.
The following year (1966) Howard & Wyndham transferred to the King’s Edinburgh with Jimmy Logan starring. The stage reported “The three bears succeed in saving Meg’s Circus from failure”
1967- The Sunderland Empire produced its own version of “Goldilocks” in a brand new pantomime. It starred Peter Goodwright and Len Howe played Tilly Tart the Circus owner. It ran just over three hours. The Panto featured a real circus- “Captain Bailey Fossett’s All Star Circus”.
1968 Paul Elliott, a budding Pantomime producer presented the Howard & Wyndham production of “Goldilocks” at Hull New Theatre. It starred local chart topping star Ronnie Hilton and veteran Dame George Lacy. The Panto featured Jan Hunt as Goldilocks.Jan had recently been in the West End in “Come Spy With Me” with Danny La Rue. Fifty- four years on from “Goldilocks at Hull and the fabulous Jan Hunt is currently playing Empress in “Aladdin” in Panto at Esher! (2022)
This show began Paul Elliott’s reign as Panto King with his company later to be named “E&B” (Elliott & Byrne).
The panto featured Ray Chiarella, and La Paloma and Her Pigeons.
In 1969 “Goldilocks” –The H&W Version- produced by PAUL ELLIOTT & DUNCAN C.WELDON at Norwich. A transfer from Hull the previous year, it once again starred Ronnie Hilton (I was fortunate to do “Cinderella” with Ronnie for Paul Elliott twenty years later at Hull!) and George Lacy.
The show’s villain was Jackie “Mr TV” Pallo, the wrestler, Olivia Breeze, Gwyn (a trapeze artiste), Mike Lewin , and Vincent Worth.
Paul Elliott now takes on the mantle of “Goldilocks” protector from Howard & Wyndham.
Theatre Royal Brighton “Goldilocks” produced by Paul Elliott & Duncan C Weldon presented Dora Bryan as Circus Owner Dora. The Stage: “Cast as a sort of Dame..a bundle of dynamic energy”
Direct from the London Palladium success, Larry Grayson was Ringmaster. “One of the funniest men in the profession”, alongside a favourite comedian of mine (and father of performer Caroline Dennis), Bobby Dennis. “High good humour and geniality, quickly inspires audience participation in the most shy”.
The Cast included “The Man In Black”, Veteran actor Valentine Dyall as Heinkel, Ray Chiarella and Olivia Breeze as Goldilocks.
Enjoyed a brief re-visit to Scarborough during late September-My Costume fittings for “Goldilocks And The Three Bears” at Richmond combined with a breath of sea air!
A rare visit for me to Crossroads Northern HQ, as this season I’ll be combining some of Crossroads panto costumes with my own, and, of course, appearing in my first “Goldilocks” at The Richmond Theatre.
I think I’ve not been to Scarborough since the late 1970’s, when I played a very long Summer Season at both Scarborough Grand Hotel and Butlin’s Filey , and just looking at the magnificent Grand Hotel (no longer Butlin’s owned) brought back memories of a season with Gordon & Bunny Jay for the Richard Stone Agency. Costumes by Paddy Dickie, and supporting acts like Roy Hudd, Ruby Murray , Dukes & Lee and meeting up with the gorgeous Marti Caine and company.
Lots of memories, not only in Scarborough itself, but in the enormous Crossroads costumes stores. So many memories here, of chums I’ve worked with, finale sets of costumes I’ve appeared with- it was a joy to explore, between fittings supervised by the Crossroads head of Wardrobe, Teresa Nalton.
Here are just some of the photos I took while exploring this vast Palace of glitz and glamour- walking down the avenues of costumes worn by the greats and some of the lates- Lovely Les Dawson, David Morton, Brian Godfrey, John Inman- what a treasure trove of Pantomime this is!
The building is enormous, and houses the workshops where this season’s costumes are being created and collated before being sent out to Press Calls and later to rehearsal rooms around the country , all in those familiar blue “Tardis” wardrobe boxes that greet you at the theatres on technical week! Who knows, perhaps the performers live within those tardis like doors for the run!
I fitted several costumes that I’ll be wearing in Richmond this year as Betty Barnum, owner of the Circus. Some very lovely ones and especially pleased to be wearing one made for my mate Gary Wilmot! I did Gary’s make-up on his first “Dame” photo shoot, and now I’m in his Dame frock. Circle of life!
The workshops were busy not just with construction, but with all the alterations that take place at this time of year. I fully appreciate, as as I type, I am nearing the end of organising the Kenneth More Theatre’s “Aladdin”, and we’ve just had our photo shoot. To my delight, and due to the skill of the makers, about 90% of the Panto costumes are made, fitted, bagged and wrapped, and it is still September! Now back to the Crossroads treasure house of frocks. Some more photos:
Among the treasure I selected the above as the finest- A true piece of Theatre history, Les Dawson’s nautical costume, which was hanging near to dear John Inman’s costumes, near to Danny La Rue’s , to Brian Godfrey and David Mortons costumes- what panto anecdotes and laughs those wardrobe rails must echo with at night- what a legacy of costume creation! Thank you so much Teresa for letting me explore this fabulous cavern of costumes!
Before leaving Scarborough Andrew Ryan and I took tea with Nick Thomas, surrounded by just some of his legendary puppet collections. I first encountered Nick back in the days when variety was still the summer season stalwart- he was “Tommer Puppets”, and grew an empire from this skilled form of entertainment. His Panto and Summer Show productions encompassed it all, and some of the country’s top entertainers appeared for him. The showcases behind Nick & I in this photograph are a small selection of the world of first edition Pelham marionettes, and gazing at us from their cases are Keith Harris’s Orville, Cuddles, Lenny The Lion, and Ray Allen’s Lord Charles, his monocle gleaming.
A huge thanks to Nick for his hospitality, and indeed the amazing food at his gastro pub, the Copper Horse- The pub is decorated with photographs of the variety greats, and the seasons at the Futurist Theatre, now sadly no longer standing.
This was quite some trip to Scarborough! My first in forty three years! I will be back, most definately!
The day began with a very large car arriving to take me and my over sized costume and headdresses (always take spares in case of strong wind!) at the crack of dawn. Travelled across London to the very sumptuous Petersham Hotel. The Hotel has spectacular views over to the River Thames. No time to admire the view- we had suites (fancy!) to change (I would really like my suite for the run- it’s only a short taxi hop to Stage Door..if you’re listening Beautiful Petersham Hotel..NO? Worth a try!) and transform into Betty Barnum for the photos.
Met up with Charlotte from Crossroads and the lovely marketing Team from the Richmond Theatre, and met Matt Baker-starring as Joey The Clown in our Pantomime. I saw Matt in the same role at the London Palladium in Michael Harrison’s “Goldilocks & The Three Bears”, and delighted to be working with him- I might even learn a few Circus Skills from him- he juggles, he tightrope walks- he’s very limber. I too am flexible. I can do Tuesdays and Thursdays at the bingo.
From Left to Right: Phil Walker (Ringo The Ringmaster) Tamara Morgan (Goldilocks) Nigel Ellacott (Betty Barnum) Matt Baker(Joey The Clown) Jessica Martin(Countess Von Vinkelbottom)
First person I bumped into in the foyer was the gorgeous Jessica Martin . I have know Jessica for a good while- and remember her visiting Gary Wilmot when we worked together, and indeed seeing Jessica & Gary in their wonderful run in “Me & My Girl” in The West End. An amazing impressionist and Musical Theatre leading lady- She is giving her somewhat evil (although she would dispute this) Rival circus owner Countess Von Vinklebottom in the panto, and oh we are going to have such fun feuding!
In the luxury suite, using the marble bathroom as Betty’s Boudoir, delighted to meet Phil Walker, who will be playing our Ringmaster, Ringo! Phil writes, Directs and performs Pantos, when he’s not entertaining and running his Comedy Club near Blackpool. I had to confess to Phil we’d met before- a VERY long time ago, when I worked with his Dad- Roy (Catchphrase) Walker! It was, I blush to say, thirty-four years ago, when Phil was visiting his Dad in “Cinderella”-At The Mayflower Southampton. Roy played The Baron, And I was a ridiculous young Child Prodigy of an Ugly Sister!
We were lucky to have Tamara Morgan, our Goldilocks with us today- she’s currently appearing in a production in the Midlands, and had to dash down and dash back by train to be in time for her evening performance!
Charlotte from Crossroads Pantomimes and the Richmond Theatre team took us for more photos, and a brief taxi ride to the Theatre (if you see what I’m wearing above you can imagine the loading into a black cab scenario- if we weren’t bosom buddies before, we were by the time we got out!
The Theatre is undergoing a very thorough refurb, and luckily the resident Stage Manager was able to let us go on the stage for a few photos. It still has that “rake”, quite a steep rake to the stage, and that undeniable intimacy. The Matcham auditorium just wraps itself around the performers like a warm embrace. I might need a lie down after that last statement!
The absolute highlight of the day was going across the road to Richmond Green to meet the children, parents and performers who were enjoying “Circus Skills” day in the sunshine. Mini stil walking, hula hoops, springboards, those cotton reel thingies you whip up into the air with a skipping rope (very technical Circus talk here) and Balloon modelling, plate spinning- just such fun for all! Matt Baker was straight in, juggling and showing the youngsters how to spin plates- as did Tamara – the children drawn to Goldilocks and her beautiful colourful costume, and had a fun afternoon with The Countess and Betty! we all loved the afternoon!
We look forward to meeting up with that incredible Magician, Phil Hitchcock- Phil was in “Goldilocks” last year at Birmingham and previously, like Matt at The London Palladium “Goldilocks & The Three Bears. What a stunning and totally mystifying act, truly International and can’t wait until the rehearsals! We will also be joined by the Amazing Gordon Marquez- a truly fantastic juggler and star of many a big top and cabaret.
A huge thank you to all at Richmond Theatre for organising today. We returned to do Press interviews and pieces to camera, and when we left Matt was going strong with interviews. We are going to have a great time- lovely show- a first for me- Never appeared in “Goldilocks”, and I’m currently on 48th Panto I believe! Its been a long time since I was at Richmond in Panto (I’ve returned in plays but not Panto) – last here in 1986 with the lovely Anneka Rice!
After a long gap, during which time Pantomimes throughout the country have experienced strange and difficult times, the Pantomime Awards evening was held at The Trafalgar Theatre on Tuesday 19th April.
A red carpet and posh frock event, Headline sponsored by Butlins and with awards sponsored by creatives and companies, brought to the stage by the UK Pantomime Association- formed to explore, share and celebrate pantomime- not just for this night, but for the future, with forthcoming workshops, talks, and special events for a theatrical genre that can now boast (thanks to Staffs University) an MA course in Pantomime!
The evening was hosted as always by Christopher Biggins,
President of the UK Pantomime Association, and a Panto Dame of legend. This year Chris will be appearing as Mrs Smee at the Darlington Hippodrome.
The evening was to celebrate pantomimes throughout the UK, to enjoy the company of Panto Pals that we rarely get to see, and to present some awards.
Andrew Ryan and I were there to present the first award of the Evening, and, as it turned out, I had a VERY surprising and heartwarming evening! More of that in a moment…
There were a total of 27 awards this evening, and I will mention these – the first was presented by Andrew Ryan and myself, to celebrate The Best Ugly Sisters. The nominations and the winners are all to be found on the Pantomime awards website, in our presentation the nominees were Beth Bradley and Paul Toulson (Bracknell), Jimmy Chisholm and Mark Cox (Greenock), Duncan Burt and Nic Gibney (Bath), Robin Simpson and Paul Hawkyard (York Theatre Royal) and Harry Howle and Chris Aukett. (Portsmouth New Theatre).
After playing Ugly Sister for Twenty-Eight Years, and discovering between us Andrew and I have appeared in 83 Pantomimes, it was a great pleasure to announce the winners- Duncan Burt & Nic Gibney Theatre Royal Bath for UK Productions! Congratulations to all nominees and the Winners tonight!
The evening was slick and fast and between the presentations for awards such as Best Dame- Morgan Brind (Derby).
Best Direction – Paul Hendy (Canturbury Evolution), Best Comic- Tam Ryan (Wolverhampton), Best Choreography- Jonny Bowles Belfast Crossroads Pantomimes) and Best Newcomer- Rob Rinder (Bristol Crossroads), there were performances, guest presenters and one big surprise for me.. a total shock..
I won The Outstanding Achievement Award! At the end of the evening the final winners were onstage , and we were sitting at the back of the Circle. I thought I had time to make a dash for the toilet prior to seeing the final award. At that point I was intercepted and told to get down to the auditorium as i was needed… I arrived just in time to hear Chris Biggins say some very lovely words, and I was onstage accepting the award, for which I am truly grateful and extremely gobsmacked to have been honoured with! I really had NO idea this was planned, and my thanks go to the UK Pantomime association for this honour. I am truly privileged.
The next day the Sun reported this and other pantomime awards, and the very moving presentation by Scott Mitchell of an award in his name of his late wife, the legendary Barbara Windsor for Best Principal Boy in Pantomime. Here’s the link to the newspaper article.
I winged my speech, and hope I thanked everyone concerned. This evening has truly been a celebration of the theatre that I live and breathe- Pantomime, and its performers, creatives, writers, costumiers, set designers, stage management and now, thanks to Dr Robert Marsden and Staffordshire Universary, for MA Students of this unique art form. Simon Curtis and its-behind-you.com are at the forefront in bringing Panto to the fore, and I am hugely grateful and proud for what this website has achieved over the past twenty years.
Chris’s words of presentation were very special to me, coming from our Iconic Dame figure. This is a precis of the UK Pantomime Association’s words:
Nigel Ellacott began his career in 1974, an experienced, respected and knowledgeable authority on pantomime, Nigel Ellacott is a talented script writer, costume designer, costume maker , performer and historian. An ambassador for the genre, he has supported many individuals, companies and theatres throughout their careers, as well as inspiring generations of panto lovers through his work and website “its-behind-you.com”
Many thanks too to Ellie Hoskins for the photographs in this article.
The evening had some amazing performances, from the wickedly funny Myra Dubois, to the gorgeous voice of Gracie McGonigal.
A highlight was an extract from the Butlin’s Pantomime company of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, led by the wonderful Dame Michael J Batchelor and Joey Wilby as Joey The Clown. The cast featured Laura Dean Perryman as Goldilocks, with David Sharp, Aisleen Murphy and Jessica Lee as the three bears, with the Ensemble comprising Ellie Carwithen, Dominic Charles, Jordan Declan Field and Kayleigh Patient.
The inclusion of Max Fulham as presenter was very welcomed, bringing his ventriloquism skills to the fore. Last season he was at Bromley with Chris Biggins in Panto.
Awards went to Vikki Stone for Best script (Hammersmith), to Matt Cross for best lighting (Kings Lynn), to Alex Linney, Best Sound (Gaiety Isle of Man), Cleo Pettitt for Best Set design (Watford), to Celia Perkins for Costume Design Aladdin at Oldham Coliseum, the Best Villain was Rolan Bell (Cambridge).
the Carmen Silvera award, presented by Vikki Michelle went to Alexandra Burke for “Aladdin”, Opera House Manchester- Crossroads Pantomimes, and Best Ensemble to Dick Whittington at Guildford, with Best Principal Girl award to Naomi Alade (Oxford)
Best MD award to Jamie Noar for Everyman Liverpool, and Best Supporting artiste Kate Donnachie (Hammersmith Lyric).
The Best Early Career Newcomer was Becca Lee- Isaacs (Huddersfield Robin Hood), To Joe Tracini , To Justin Fletcher & Paul Morse (Balloon Ballet ) and to Justin Brett, Susan Harrison and Ali James for fully improvised Frontcloth executionThe Best Digital Panto went to the New Wolsey Ipswich.
The hotly contested “Best Pantomime ” awards were in three catagories- under 500 seats was Robin Hood at the Liverpool Everyman, the 500-900 seats to”Aladdin” at the Lyric Hammersmith, and the award for the Best Pantomime over 900 seats went to Jack & The Beanstalk at the Marlowe Canturbury (Evolution Productions).
Again, if you’d like to know more about the awards, and the UK Pantomime association, this is their website:
A huge thank you to everyone concerned, and I was truly overwhelmed by the messages I received the following day on Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. A fabulous night celebrating our greatest unique British art form- PANTOMIME! Long may it reign!
The funeral service for Barrie was held at St Paul’s Church, The Actor’s Church,Covent Garden on Wednesday 16th February 2022.
It was, as Barrie would have loved. A full house. Standing ovations, much laughter, and much joy remembering this truly unique and hugely theatrical man. To many of us sitting in the pews he was our first agent. When you arrived in London his office would be the first port of call. He selected you for his books purely and simply on instinct. He rarely, if ever read your CV or made many enquiries. “We don’t need all that stuff, Daughter- we need to get you working!”. To all of us, Male or Female, we were his “Daughters”- I have no idea why, but there was something in the way he exclaimed “Daughter!” as he ran into you that had a touch of Arthur Lucan’s “Old Mother Riley” about it!
Barrie lived for old variety and films- he watched every Hollywood film from the Golden Era and absorbed them. Barrie SAW Hollywood in everything and everyone. His coffin was carried out of the church, after a standing ovation to the voice of Marlene Dietrich singing “See what the boys in the backroom will have”… Just as we entered the church to music from various Children’s shows that Barrie presented over the years to help with “The Handbag” Daughter!
My memories , sitting there with all Barrie’s Daughters- were about the tours we did for him, the jobs we did for him and the many many stories we filed away as “Barrie” stories. The Service was perfect. Under the twinkling eye of the Revd.Richard Syms it was a joyful celebration of Barrie’s life.
Keith Hopkins, Barrie’s partner of a lifetime- over fifty years- organised it as it was to be, a fitting tribute to this funny, camp, warm man who fell in love with Show Business as a child, and kept that love up to his death aged 95.
I have Barrie to thank for introducing me to Peter Robbins. Barrie knew I was looking for a “Sister” to join me in a one off panto at Ilford. He knew his stuff. We did nigh on thirty years! My Brother Vivyan ran the Kenneth More Theatre, he produced that panto, and sat next to me at the service. Keith Hopkins was a Swansea lad, and appeared in some rep plays at The Grand Theatre there, and we have that South Wales connection.
All of us in that Church, and later at the pub.. and even later at the CAA in Bedford Street (Where we rehearsed so many of Barrie’s shows- and some of them were shall we say not lengthy rehearsals!) were remembering the man who brought us all together. A lot of us forty-five odd years later, all saying “You’ve not changed a bit””.
There are too many people to name, so I’ll attempt a few, and apologise for those not mentioned in the hundreds who turned out to see Barrie off. The principal ones to name are Keith of course- known to Panto veterans as Keith ‘Appy Hopkins, Panto Dame for many seasons at Hunstanton, and Summer seasons with Tommy Trafford at Bridlington and Scarborough. Simon Bashford (Panto Dame of long standing) who was a long time friend of Barrie and Keith- he organised so much of the service. Christopher Hare, who gave a funny and affectionate eulogy. Chris ran the Lewisham Theatre for many years, and presented Barrie’s shows, and was his long standing friend. The gorgeous voice of Alexandra Waite-Roberts (Currently in ALW’s “Cinderella”) singing “Over The Rainbow”, and Joshua Lawson’s heartfelt words. It was lovely to see producers Paul Holman, John Newman and Daphne Palmer at the service.
I first met Barrie I think at Swansea rep before I went to college. In those days the rep was weekly, and Barrie used to cast the season for John Chilvers and my Brother Vivyan was John’s assistant manager. I then met Barrie when Keith Salberg was my agent, and he and Barrie would share commissions, often with Jean Charles a fellow agent.
That’s how I ended up in Sweden, paying Barrie split commission, playing piano in the Bachi Wapen club in Stockholm. White suit, tinkly piano and a room called “Albert’s Hall” with mostly very drunk diners!
I still have a letter Barrie sent me. He was busy writing “Oh Camille!” a camp comedy musical at the Arts with Ruth Madoc and Audrey Leybourne starring. It had a mixed reception – at this point Barrie was writing Act Two. “On Act Two of Camille now. It won’t take long. She just coughs a lot….”
I looked around the pews and saw the friends made through Barrie. I call it “Barrie’s web”. He spun a web that made all of us connected to each other through him. As an agent, as a producer, as a friend. It’s a vast web, as he was still involved in his beloved Show Biz up to the end. That’s a lot of people involved in a lot of years of Show.
When Barrie heard I was looking to find an Ugly Sister partner for “Cinderella” at the Kenneth More Theatre in 1981 he had a few thoughts, but he knew that putting Peter & I together on a long day’s commercial for Lager (neither of us touched the stuff!) would give us ample time to see if we got on. It started at 7.30am and with overtime ended at 10pm. By that time we’d worked out entrances, thought up costumes and become the friends we were to remain up until Peter’s death in 2009. Barrie knew people- he KNEW we would be perfect together! Thank you Mr Stacey for those wonderful years.
Peter and I not only played “Sisters” at Christmas, for the rest of the year Barrie put us together as a “Double” in his shows. Peter played Ernst and I played Hansel in “Hansel & Gretel”. (Russell Grant had previously played Hansel, and became a lifelong friend of Barrie’s). The witch had a cat, a feisty assistant-and in those early days Sue Hodge was that feline! We toured in Hansel for many years, with me graduating to Witch when I matured a little! By now Peter Robbins, Andrew Ryan and I were touring regularly on the “Barrie Circuit”.
Peter and I played Fox and Cat in Barrie’s “Pinocchio” over the years- again doing our “Double”, and always putting in “The Echo Gag” , our favourite routine. Lorinda King was a frequent “Pinocchio”, and our pupetteers were often Jo Castleton and Zimon Drake. It was lovely to see them both at the service and catch up afterwards.
Jo has recently been playing Rose Narracott in “War Horse” in the UK and Australia, and appeared as Siobhan in “The Curious incident of the dog” in London’s West End. She was with her writer and producer husband Duncan MacInnes- his first theatre appearance was in a Barrie Stacey Show, in Hull!
Barrie always had puppets in his shows- Andrew, Peter & I created “PAN PUPPETS” for Barrie- Our names making up the title- clever stuff! The Puppets were always UV, and over the years the puppets were often created and performed by Sue Dacre & Chris Covington . Sue & Chris sat behind me at the service . Pom Pom Puppets were courtesy of Madam Pom Pom, or Alexandra Dane as we called her.
Today a plethora of Panto Dames were at St Paul’s: Keith, Simon, David Rumelle, Marc Seymour, Ben Roddy, Damian Williams, Michael Garland, Patrick Kearns and myself to name but a few. Andrew Ryan and Chris Hayward were unable to attend. A clutch of Dames in fact!
I often costumed Barrie’s shows over the years- “Wizard Of Oz”, “Pinocchio” and “Hansel”, as well as a “David Copperfield” production out of Crewe Lyceum, when Barrie ran the theatre for a while.
We had sandwiches at the CAA. That is important, as anyone who knew Barrie will understand. Barrie upon arriving in London from his family home in Boscombe, was to own the “As You Like It” café in the heart of London’s Denmark Street. Frequented by the bohemian and the casual passers by, it soon became the hub of “who is casting what” in the West End. Quentin Crisp was an early patron. The “Naked Civil Servant” was a regular.
That might explain why I randomly ended up sharing a car to Blackpool wedged between Barrie and Quentin Crisp. From Charing Cross to Blackpool – to appear in The Kathy Kirby show on the pier. A one night Barrie variety show.
Mr Crisp wasn’t in the show- I have no idea why he was in the car- but once we’d set up and I had sorted my dots with David Carter and Perry Clayton, and put on my sequinned Piano act suit, Barrie got the news that Kathy Kirby had been arrested in the Barbican- a fracas with her Mother I believe?- and back to London we went!
Barrie not only made sandwiches for the café, he was of course an impresario- he made sandwiches for his resting actors to deliver to stage doors across the West End! Delivering food for between shows, and gathering gossip and information. “So and so is leaving the show. There’s a vacancy coming up…”
Legend has it Barrie dispatched a lad to deliver a sandwich to Hollywood star Betty Grable at the Palace Theatre between shows. He later returned to ask for the wrapper. “It’s ok honey. It’s in the trash can”. “Ah.But Barrie wrote a telephone number on it , for a casting”. Miss Grable duly retrieved it!
At Crewe Barrie not only ran the theatre, but did good business with a café upstairs, and for a while commuted to Ilford to run a buffet there pre show. Always a success, and always with a singer and a pianist to entertain before the curtain went up.
My touring family for Barrie included Peter Jameson, Julie Faye, Julie Fox along with Adrian Jeckells , Lorinda King, Scott Howard, Zimon, Jo, Michael Morgan, Lewis Phillips, Vivienne McMaster, Laura Nayman, Virginia Graham, Maggie Beckitt and so many others. Petrina Derrington, Debbie King, Sarah Whitlock, Sylvia Carson, and Audrey Leybourne were there- Audrey was a friend of Barrie’s since early rep days, and through her days as a “Roly Poly” with Les Dawson- I grew up watching Audrey in Swansea rep. So lovely to see there today too!
From “Jungle Book”, “Snow White” and “Wizard of Oz”, through to “Hansel” and “Pinocchio”, we were all represented in St Paul’s today. The off sales were of the utmost importance to Barrie. He manned the Front Of House stalls before, during and after the shows. Flashing wands, Balloons, Witches Fingers (That always puzzled me. I played Witch and didn’t think my fingers were worthy of an offsale?) Often Peter Robbins and I would visit Barrie’s table during the second act of “Pinocchio” on a Saturday and leave with our wages in carrier bags. “Coinage Daughters! Is that all right?” Oh it was Barrie. It was!
There were tributes at the service to Barrie’s Ladies- his star turns who he adored. Jessie Mathews, the first British film star to go transatlantic was represented in her songs, played as we entered. “Over my shoulder goes one care”.. Barrie presented her in her own show many times, and as a double bill with June Bronhill.
I was always delighted to be in a Variety show with Ruby Murray for Barrie, and he presented Kathy Kirby (although not at Blackpool), Diana Dors,and Coronation’s Street’s Liz Dawn. We did The John Hanson show several times together, and The Bob Monkhouse shows, as well as being in his shows with Frankie Howerd, Tommy Trinder and Billy Burdon.
Barrie presented his friend Quentin Crisp at The Duke Of Yorks, following his West End show “With A Little Help From My Friends” at the same venue. He also presented the American Female Impersonator Jim Bailey at The London Palladium.
Birthday Parties at Barrie and Keith’s flat in Charing Cross Road were memorable. His West End To Broadway show and his Jerome Kern shows were employing talented singers who were also his clients across the country. Barrie DID find us the work he promised when we first visited his offices.
Barrie wrote several books about the days of the “As You Like It” café, and his career in “The Biz”-from the 1940’s through- “A Ticket To The Carnival” and “Life Upon The Very Wicked Stage” and “One leaf left on the Old Oak Tree”.
Over the years a succession of cats, all called “Maud” helped Barrie in the office on Charing Cross Road. Maud Poppysocks III being the most recent!
At the Service was Nick James and Paul Giddings. Nick represents to me the most recent of Barrie’s proteges- He is current performing as an actor with the Royal Ballet. He originally got the job through Barrie, and through Barrie performed pantos with us at the Kenneth More. His current job courtesy of the gentleman we came to honour at St Paul’s today.
Barrie’s web was a wide web. All of us in that church have that connection. An extended Stacey family. He was outrageous, he was theatrical , he was someone who saw you as one of his stars- what more could you possibly ask of him? Barrie Stacey- you have left a legacy behind you- a packed church full of people working in the business because of you. You bequeathed us that joy of theatre. Bless you Barrie, you are much loved!