The Qdos Catalogue 2018-19

 

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Q D O S   E N T E R T A I N M E N T

 

NATIONWIDE PANTOMIME SEASON IN THIRTY FIVE THEATRES ACROSS THE UK

NOVEMBER 2018 – 27 JANUARY 2019

 ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, CINDERELLA, DICK WHITTINGTON,

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, PETER PAN,

ROBIN HOOD, SLEEPING BEAUTY AND SNOW WHITE

ABERDEEN, BELFAST, BIRMINGHAM, BRADFORD, BRISTOL, BROMLEY, CARDIFF, CREWE, DARLINGTON, DARTFORD, EDINBURGH, GLASGOW, HASTINGS, HAYES, HIGH WYCOMBE, HULL, LIVERPOOL, LLANDUDNO, LONDON, MANCHESTER, MILTON KEYNES, NEWCASTLE, NORTHAMPTON, NOTTINGHAM, PLYMOUTH, RICHMOND, SOUTHAMPTON, SOUTHEND, STOKE-ON-TRENT, SWANSEA, SWINDON, WIMBLEDON, WOKING AND WOLVERHAMPTON

Newcastle’s Stunning pantomime “Goldilocks And The Three Bears” is already in rehearsal, with Michael Harrison at the helm, with rehearsal rooms in London and all over the UK about to be filled with the magic of Pantomime.

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Beginning later this month, an array of stars from the world of Stage, Screen and Entertainment will light up thirty-five theatres across the nation for this year’s Qdos Entertainment pantomime season celebrating the very best of British traditions for the festive season.

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Snow White at the London Palladium will lead the season’s programming with a cast including Dawn French in her pantomime debut, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers and Paul Zerdin whilst nationwide Danny Adams, Robin Askwith, Ashley Banjo and Diversity, Shirley Ballas, David Bedella, Christopher Biggins, Zoe Birkett, Cannon & Ball, Richard Cadell & Sooty, John Challis, Chico, Paul Chuckle, Bernie Clifton, Brendan Cole, Michelle Collins, Brian Conley, Darren Day, Bobby Davro, Les Dennis, Anita Dobson, Sheila Ferguson, Flawless, Gareth Gates, The Grumbleweeds, Jaymi Hensley, Lesley Joseph, The Krankies, Robert Lindsay, Joe McElderry, Steve McFadden, May McFettridge, Debbie McGee, Connor McIntyre, Lee Mead, Paul Merton, Gavin Mitchell, Jimmy Osmond, Tom Parker, John Partridge, Joe Pasquale, Billy Pearce, Marti Pellow, Craig Revel Horwood, Ben Richards, Shane Richie, Lisa Riley, Lee Ryan, Suzanne Shaw, Sooty, Elaine C Smith, Louie Spence, Allan Stewart, Meera Syal, Ryan Thomas, Gok Wan, Ian H Watkins, Simon Webbe, Jonathan Watson, Jonathan Wilkes, Samantha Womack, Jordan Young and Adam Woodyatt are amongst those treading the boards around the UK.

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Winner of the last year’s Olivier Award for Best Family and Entertainment and renowned for staging high-quality productions which are both contemporary and true to the traditions of pantomime, 2018 will see Qdos Entertainment continue to bring festive magic to stages across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With a host of star names and creative collaborators each production is precisely staged with extravagant production values, astounding choreography and spectacular special effects.

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Nick Thomas, Chairman of the Qdos Entertainment Group, said: “We have this week begun rehearsals for our 2018 season which we are all very much looking forward to.  We have over 1,000 actors, dancers, singers and musicians joining us this year to entertain families in thirty-five theatres across the UK in productions of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk, Peter Pan, of Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.  We can’t wait to get started!”

 As the world’s biggest pantomime producer, over the past 36 years Qdos Entertainment has established itself as one of the largest entertainment companies in Europe. Over the past three decades the pantomime giant has staged 719 pantomimes and this season expects that around two million people will see one of its shows.

 Qdos Entertainment has been fund-raising for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s since 2010. Thanks to the generosity of theatregoers, as well as fund-raising by Qdos Entertainment staff, over £1.25 million has been raised to date, with fundraising continuing this festive season.

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http://www.its-behind-you.com has a full listing of all the Qdos Pantomimes for this season, with full cast lists to follow as soon as they are released. All listings and all the posters can be found in our Diary Section.

Full season details and further information on Qdos Entertainment is also available at pantomime.com.

 

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Llandudno Panto Roadshow- Diolch!

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Fabulous weather for a week of Panto fun in Llandudno for Venue Cymru. Organised beautifully by Rachel Jones, who looks after Education for Venue Cymru, we did ten shows in the Conwy area.

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Delighted to play to some of the schools who visit The Venue Cymru Pantomime each year, the names I remember well from my Three Pantomime seasons at the theatre, and it is not often you get to visit some of the beautiful views in North Wales as part of your working day! Conwy Castle being just one!

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Conwy by the way has a tea shop with the finest Welsh Raebit in the Principality- rivalled only by the tea room in Salts Mill, Bradford!

This year the Roadshow regulars, Andrew Ryan, Grant Alvarez and myself took the Magic Of Pantomime to Llandulas, Conwy, Colwyn Bay, Abergele, Llysfaen as well as several shows in Llandudno itself. We tell the children about Pantomime, and the traditions, as well as quizzing them on Fairytales.

Llandudno town has its own “Alice In Wonderland” trail, where you can find statues of the Lewis Caroll characters dotted about, and a Hotel, The St Tudno, where Alice Lidell and family stayed on their holidays.

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Croeso!- Welcome to The Pantomime Roadshow!

We travelled up mountains and past waterfalls to take the show around the Conwy area, and back to base in Llandudno each evening to sample some of the best food that Wales has to offer! Lovely to stay at The Can Y Bae once again, my Pantomime home for a good few seasons here!

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A lovely week promoting all things Panto, and of course this year’s Qdos Pantomime “Cinderella” at Venue Cymru. The class includes the delightful Dawson Chance as Baron Hardup. Peter Robbins and I enjoyed many panto seasons with Dawson playing our “Daddy” around the UK.

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Many thanks- Diolch yn Fawr – to Rachel, Richard Jones and to Sarah Ecob for a great Roadshow Week in North Wales- Thanks for looking after us so brilliantly!

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Panto Roadshow on the road!

10th October 2018

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The Panto Roadshow has headed out once again this Autumn, calling at Basingstoke and Llandudno on the way! This week we’re representing The Anvil Theatre’s “Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs” pantomime in the area, and had the good fortune to run into panto enthusiast Joshua Dixon, a regular contributor to the site, on our journeys!

Here’s what Josh had to say about experiencing our touring “Magic Of Pantomime Roadshow” today-

I was thrilled to be able to represent Anvil Arts at the Pantomime
Roadshow this morning hosted by the amazing team at It’s Behind You.
It was a joy to see their hilarious, fast-paced show which not only
kept the children amused with fart gags and references to Peppa Pig
and the ever-catchy Baby Shark but also introduced them to the
characters and traditions of pantomime. I must admit to laughing at
the toilet humour just as much as the children!

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It was lovely to chat to Nigel about the history of the Roadshow
itself and the many incidents that have come with it including fire
alarms going off mid-show!

After a swift break, the children were invited to take part in a
question and answer session. I was only too happy to answer any
questions about The Anvil itself and touched upon the size of the
venue and the post-show auditorium clear up… a mammoth task indeed!
One particular child asked a question regarding Andrew Ryan’s quick
change into the Pantomime Dame. This brought back memories of my
childhood and how amazed I was watching the Dame make many a speedy
entrance, each with a brand new costume. It was a great chance for the
children to find out more about pantomime but also what goes on
backstage.

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A huge thank you to Nigel, Andrew and Grant.

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Dani & Chris

We’ve had a great week here at Basingstoke, and wish lots of luck to the panto Director also appearing as  Muddles The Jester, our mate Chris Pizzey- better known as Mr Steven to Basil Brush fans

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Chris Pizzey is here with Dani Harmer as Snow White.The show is presented by Martin Dodd for UK Productions.

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Next week we are back in Llandudno for the Qdos /Venue Cymru Panto Roadshow celebrating Cinderella with Tom Parker, Herbie Adams and Natalie Winsor. More news from my second home next week!

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PIERROT & PANTO in LLANDUDNO!

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September 29th 2018

A lover of panto, and a lover of history, and of course, a lover of Llandudno- I had to be there today! Venue Cymru and a host of partners presented a day dedicated to Pierrots- The Seaside Entertainers of yore, and a day dedicated to Will Catlin who brought the Pierrot Follies to Llandudno, and created the Arcadia Theatre to house it in.

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The Arcadia Tram and a young Will Catlin

Sarah Ecob at The Venue Cymru asked if I’d like to join in the fun today, and the opportunity to be a part of this celebration was gratefully received. Plus, I got to do some silly panto sketches on the prom with Stuart Loughland, a fellow Dame. Double Bubble!

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Nigel Ellacott, Stuart Loughland & Steve Bloor

I was a Pierrot on a North Wales Promenade once! The Summer of 1977 I did Summer Season at Rhyl, and every morning did a Pierrot Show on the Bandstand!

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My Pierrot Days! I’m on the right with Philip Rostand, fellow artiste.Big hair days!

Each time I’ve played Dame at Venue Cymru, Stuart has been up the road in Theatr Colwyn presenting Panto, so this was a rare opportunity to meet up and catch up on all things Panto. Joining us on the Bandstand today was Colwyn Bay favourite Steve Bloor and fellow Panto artiste Libby Edwards, joined by a tech team from Venue Cymru, along with Rachel Jones, Educational co-ordinator for the Theatre.

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The Pierrots in action!

For a full account of the day’s activities, here’s what the North Wales Pioneer newspaper has to say:

http://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/16951176.jolly-performers-bring-laughs-to-llandudno-promenade/

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We did three performances of Panto fun during the day, swapping over for The New Follies Pierrot show, and The Llandudno Youth Music Theatre to take to the stage.

when dressed as a Dame from 11am to 5pm my first thought is “where is the dressing room?” for that all important sit-down between shows. There are plenty of benches on the seafront, but too many seagulls..

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So my thoughts went to “Safe Houses” to secrete oneself in, to partake of tea in between appearance. Many thanks to the Empire Hotel and The Imperial Hotel for taking in a Dame in need! Thanks also to The Can-Y-Bae Hotel for looking after me so well!

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Margo Catlin with her Daughter and Grand Daughter

The day was dedicated to Will Catlin- The man who created pierrot troupes arounf the country. His theatre stood on the site of the Venue Cymru atrium and cafe, named in his honour. To make today even more special his daughter, Margo Catlin, her daughter and Grand Daughter were watching the festivities!

Margo lives in Llandudno, and has had close ties with Venue Cymru volunteering her services for many years. She and Grand Daughter Jane Smith have made an oral history of The Catlin Era.

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Sarah Ecob , General Manager of Venue Cymru, co-ordinating today’s events. 

It was a full day, performing cookery business and gags with Stuart and Steve, and getting a chance to chat to Rachel about our Pantomime Roadsow. We’ll be back in two weeks with the Roadshow for Venue Cymru to visit ten schools in Conwy.

Had a great chat with Margo Catlin about the Arcadia Theatre- in the 1970’s I used to visit the Arcadia Theatre on my days off from Summer Season at The Gaiety Theatre Rhyl. It was a huge building, seating almost as many as the present Venue Cymru.

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It was a joy to be here in my second home for some Panto, some history and some of the best pub food in Great Britain! Thanks to Stuart Loughland and Company for making me feel so welcome, and to Sarah and all at Venue Cymru for the invite!

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Margot Catlin aboard the Follies Trolley!

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The Catlin Follies & The Arcadia

If you are interested in The story of Will Catlin, The Pierrot shows and The Arcadia, there is an excellent website. Here’s the link:

http://www.seasidefollies.co.uk/pierrot-troupes-in-llandudno/

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Will Catlin’s Arcadia circa 1930.

Today’s celebration and  story of the Arcadia and Will Catlin is the work of Venue Cymru, working alongside Bangor University, local archives and museums exploring the Seaside Pierrot Troupes.

It Incorporates the work of Dr Tony Lidington from his “Promenade Promotions”. Tony is an academic who also performs as Uncle Tacko in “The Pierrotters” that he founded in 1983

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Jane Smith, Margot Catlin & Dr Lidington provided information and archive material from Will Catlin’s archive. Here’s an oral history from Will Catlin’s descendants, Margo Catlin and Jane Smith: http://www.seasidefollies.co.uk/oral-history-of-pierrots-in-llandudno/

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Another Pierrot Troupe, produced by rival Harry Korris

In its time the site of the Arcadia and Venue Cymru has seen a theatre building that has changed shape, and frequently changed names. From its earliest origins as The Victoria Palace, it became The Llandudno Opera House, The Hippodrome, then The Arcadia (1916) and after demolition, the site was built on to the Aberconwy Centre which became The North Wales Theatre and now Venue Cymru!

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Will Catlin “King of The Pierrots”

Born William Henry Fox in Leicester 1871. Aged 20 he married Ada Elizabeth Freer and had five daughters and a son. Will started performing in music hall, and in 1894 changed his name to “Catlin”- appearing as “Catlin & Carson” in Scarborough. He established his first Pierrot Troupe here in 1894.

In 1908 he bought a wooden building on the seafront in Scarborough and named it The Arcadia. This was later rebuilt as “The Futurist” and is now sadly in the process of being demolished.

He toured his highly successful troupes of seaside promenade players to Whitby, Withensea, Great Yarmouth, Bournemouth, Colwyn Bay, Aberystwyth and to Llandudno.

The first mention of Catlin performing in North Wales was in 1907. The next year his “Royal Pierrots” (Following a Command Performance) proved popular in the area “A Visit To North Wales would not be complete without a visit to Catlins”, and in 1915 he opened The Arcadia In Llandudno. It stood on the site of  the present day Venue Cymru.

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There had been a theatre on the Venue Cymru site since 1894. Originally named the Victoria Palace, it was built by Jules Rivière, a celebrated musical conductor. Catlin bought the venue and it became the home of Catlin’s Follies. The trams had “Catlin’s Follies” on the front and rear, and in the early days the pierrot troupes would arrive at Llandudno station to greet holidaymakers who flocked to the town for their week long break.

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One of several display cases in Venue Cymru, an exhibition on the site of the Arcadia

Between the Wars entertainment changed, and in 1932 Will Catlin presented “The Evening Follies”- “The Champagne of Modern Entertainment”. He married his second wife, Doris Anderson in 1949 . They had two daughters.

He died on 15th January 1953 outside the Llandudno Arcadia. He was aged 85. On his coffin was placed a white Pierrot hat made from flowers, and a card reading “King Of The Pierrots”.

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The Arcadia presented his Follies afterwards until the Arcadia was bought by.Llandudno Urban Council in 1968.It continued to provide entertainment to the town until 1993.

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In the 70’s and 80’s Clive Stock and H Robertson Cleaver produced Summer shows. Ken Dodd was a regular performer, and Clive Stock and Gwen Overton sang nightly, while comics like Wyn Calvin, Bobby Dennis, Bryan Burdon and Gordon and Bunny Jay did sketches and routines, along with dancers choreographed by Cherry Willoughby. (Cherry also choreographed the Swansea Grand Pantomimes each year for John Chilvers).

When this 1977 Arcadia show was on- I saw it on a day off. I was at The Gaiety Theatre,  Rhyl down the road- Summer Season was big business. this was me at the time!

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Me in The Gaiety  Rhyl Season in 1977 

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One of the summer season 1977 shows I was in at Rhyl.

Our show at The Gaiety was smaller than the Arcadia production, but we changed the show more often, did Pierrot Shows every morning, and three performances of Snow White Panto on a Thursday!

Music played a huge part in Summer Shows. The Arcadia has a large band. Les Brown and his musicians played in the pit of this 1147 seater, and the shows changed three times a week in the height of the Summer Season. From the tallest parts of the town you could identify the Arcadia by the huge sign painted on the roof.

 

 

The Arcadia closed in 1994, remained empty for ten years, and was demolished in 2005. The present Atrium and box office areas along with the café are on the site. The cafe is named after Will Catlin in his memory. Today was a great honour to a part of. Thanks to all at Venue Cymru!

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Plymouth Panto is Launched!

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Thursday 13th September 2018

I woke up this morning to the glorious sight of The Hoe, Plymouth- sun shining and ships criss- crossing the water, a very apt view for the nautical adventures of Dick Whittington, and our press launch day for the Theatre Royal!

 

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The view from the Hotel Window. Not bad eh?

Travelled down last night, on a journey that takes your breath away as the train follows the coastline for a chunk, and arrived back in Plymouth where Peter Robbins and I appeared fourteen years ago in “Cinderella” with Brian Conley!

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Here we are- from L to Right: Ellie Carwithen, Andy Ford, John Partridge, Myself- Nigel Ellacott, Daniella Hyner-Anderson and Conor Ashman.

We met up with Jonathan Kiley, Executive Producer and Adrian LeSurf from Qdos, and headed off to the streets of historic Plymouth, near to the Aquarium, for a session with the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press. Here is a link to a short video of the interviews we did . This is one from The Plymouth Herald:

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/whats-on/plymouth-panto-theatre-royal-cast-2003956

and this is an article from Radio Plymouth:

http://www.radioplymouth.com/news/local-news/theatre-royal-launches-panto/

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Gorgeous sunny day, we had interviews in the gardens of The Tudor Rose Tea Rooms, before John, Andy and I did a promotional piece to camera, filmed by Denhams TV inside the Tea Rooms , closed for today for our “Private Function”. How ghastly, to be locked inside a tea=room in Devon with nothing but sandwiches, scones, jam and cream and lashings and lashings of… err tea! It was a sort of Mad Hatted Tea Party. Look out for it on Social Media when its been edited and gone up for Baftas and the like!

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The Tudor Rose Tea Rooms answer to Vanity Fair!

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Jonathan Kiley overseeing the filming with our Television Director.

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Eat your heart out Maggie Smith- This Dame is acting up a storm! Maybe the scones weren’t up to Masterchef standards? Actually- they were delicious! Thanks ladies of the Tudor Tea Rooms! Well fed and watered we were!

Samantha Womack will be heading for Plymouth soon to do some press , as she was working today, and not with us-and as soon as we wrapped the filming, John headed to Torquay to perform in his touring thriller “The Case Of The Frightened Lady” at The Princess Theatre there.

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Looking forward very much to playing the Theatre Royal once again- its a wonderful auditorium, and this is the sight we’ll all be seeing in just a few months time!

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can’t wait to sail aboard the Saucy Sally as Alderwoman Felicity Fitzwarren this season!

Watch this space for further press pictures as they are released!

 

The Palladium- Man In The Moon 1963

I like when things in my archive join up, and give a glimpse into a time gone by.

Recently the London Palladium has been host to The Qdos Pantomimes- “Cinderella”, “Dick Whittington” and, due in December “Snow White”.

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In 1963 the Palladium tried an experiment. The management decided not to put on a traditional Panto, but opted to present a huge star of the time, comedian Charlie Drake, in a Musical called “The Man In The Moon”.

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That wasn’t the best decision that this Palace of Variety and Pantomime had ever taken, and soon it reverted to Pantomimes once again, but for a short season the wings were filled with Space men and futuristic Space Cars and flying effects.

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The popular comic “The Eagle” celebrated this with a special “Peep Behind The Scenes of “The Man In The Moon” in its 28th December 1963 issue. Dan Dare, The Mekons and Digby were on the front cover, but the backstage mechanics of The London Palladium were featured in a cut-away illustration on the back page. Here it is in all its 60’s futuristic glory, featuring the famous stage revolve!

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Terry Powell has spent a lifetime backstage in Theatres around the country, and has been involved in countless scenic productions, including Pantomimes. Terry has this to say about the famous London Palladium revolve.

“Since Val Parnell presented his first pantomime Cinderella in 1948 the venue was used annually to produce long running spectacular pantomime until musicals took over seasonal entertainment from 1988.

Much of the success of these pantomimes was due to the use of revolves and centre drum lift in adding inventive scenic design to enhance, in particular, the extravagant first act finales providing a touch of magic that would amaze both adults and children in the audience.  In addition, trap doors set into the stage provided both entry and exit for cast members plus stage properties.

Another technical innovation were three rising microphones situated at the front of stage providing the opportunity for performers to deliver script and song with amplification.

All of the above items were removed prior to the opening of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in order to accommodate the mechanics of the car; none of them being listed as required to remain as part of the theatre’s equipment.  Following the closing of Chitty the empty sub stage area provided additional space that could be used for storage and mechanics as required by incoming productions giving scenic designers an area to store and lift scenery to stage level.

As the stage has limited side or wing space the majority of scenery used in production needs to be accommodated in the roof void known as the fly tower to be raised and lowered to the stage floor as required.

The orchestra pit remains able to be raised and lowered as a feature of the variety days.”

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This production “The Man In The Moon” was described as “A Space-Age Musical”. Some of the Musical Numbers were written by Tom Springfield, brother and co-performer with   Superstar Dusty Springfield, along with Burt Rhodes, Max Diamond and John Taylor. The scenery was by Tod Kingman, who Terry (Powell) assisted frequently in Pantomime.

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the area below the London Palladium stage has been in the news very recently. At the request of Sir Bruce Forsythe and his family, the ashes of this major entertainer, and compere of so many televised “Sunday Night At The London Palladium”, have been placed in the area beneath the stage.

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The newspapers reported last week:

Sir Bruce Forsyth’s ashes have been laid to rest under the stage at the London Palladium. The late entertainer’s ashes were placed at the famous London landmark in a private ceremony attended by Sir Bruce’s family a year to the day after his death.

A blue plaque on the wall below the stage says that “without question the UK’s greatest entertainer, he rests in peace within the sound of music, laughter and dancing… exactly where he would want to be.”

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Sir Bruce will be in good company. The esteemed Variety and Film agent Billy Marsh had his ashes placed here twenty-two years ago.

Billy Marsh  worked for Bernard Delfont‘s London Management company, with responsibility for stars including Morecambe and Wise, until 1987 when he formed his own talent management agency Billy Marsh Associates, which survives him.[2] In 1991, he founded his own show business promotions company, appointing friend and protégé Johnny Mans as managing director and partner, eventually becoming Johnny Mans Productions.[5][6]

On 17 June 1996, his ashes were interred underneath the stage at The London Palladium, alongside an honorary plaque,[3] which was “in recognition of his belief, encouragement and kindness to countless talented performers, many of whom have become legends upon this stage”.[2]

A great tribute to two gentlemen who did so much to further the world of Variety and Pantomime, especially at The London Palladium.

 

 

 

 

 

PAUL ELLIOTT 60 Years

“Keeping My Balls In The Air”- The Book Launch!

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Paul Elliott & me, along with Andrew Ryan, Jan Hunt & Jonathan Kiley

Sunday 24th June 2018

A really lovely day celebrating Paul Elliott’s 60 years in the Business of Show, and the launch of his book “Keeping My Balls In The Air”..The random memoirs of a Theatre Producer. The title, by the way, was suggested by Rupert Everett. The book is a great read- it takes the lid of the Business behind Show Business, and gives an insight into the world of the Theatre Producer. Not A Theatre Producer, but THE Theatre Producer.

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Alfie Harrison with Ann Marie and Brian Conley. Lesley Joseph with Paul

Paul has produced shows worldwide. Starting in 1958 he presented a rep season at Rhyl, shows at the Pier Theatre Llandudno (Its no longer there, if you’re thinking of looking!) and on through 45 years of top pantomimes, earning him the accolade “KING OF PANTO”, following in the footsteps of Laidler, Wylie Tate and Emile Littler- he produced a staggering 482 pantomimes! I am so grateful Peter Robbins and I got to share in a few of those from 1982 onwards!

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Jane Danielle, Me, Jan Hunt, AndrewRyan, David Ian

The day was a glorious celebration, a meeting of old mates, and a chance to sit outside on a beautiful sunny day, fed and watered (for water read champagne!) and to be regaled with stories and anecdotes- some that you will find in this brilliant no holds barred expose of life upon the wicked stage- from Paul the Producers point of view!

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LJ Elliott with Linda Hayden (Mrs Paul Elliott). Paul with top agent Barry Burnett.

Paul started his career as an actor, appearing with his best friend Peter Byrne in the popular long running “Dixon Of Dock Green”, before persuading Peter to join him in his pantomime company- they created “E&B” Productions- For Elliott & Byrne.

sadly we all attended Peter Byrne’s funeral last week. He would have so enjoyed today’s celebrations, meeting up with so many old friends.

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Carole Todd and Roger Hannah

For me, spending twenty-eight years of Sister with first E&B , then E&B &AMG, which became Qdos (Hope you are following that!) it was a chance to catch up with the Panto Family that was created through doing Paul’s shows. The whole day felt like a family gathering, and that is exactly what it was. There was Paul, who produced his first panto in 1968, in the same room as Jan Hunt, who appeared in that show, with the Director, John De Lannoy- all recalling that eventful season in Hull that led to say many more.

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Ray and Linda Cooney getting their copy of the book signed.

A chance for me to meet up again with Mrs Elliott- or Linda Haydn as she is- Linda played Prince Charming in my very first panto for Paul in Stevenage, and seeing Jane Danielle- Dandini with us for several years, to Robin Asquith who was Brokers Man alongside Ian Botham when we were at Wimbledon! Great to see the Qdos Family again- Michael & Kathryn Harrison with little Alfie, and Jonathan Kiley- A day to catch up with Peter Tod, a man who has run many major theatres- The Alhambra,Darlington, The Birmingham Hippodrome.. Carole Todd and Roger Hannah- Carole Directed and Roger Choreographed several of our Cinderella Pantomime seasons- and catching up with my mate Lesley Joseph and Ann Marie and Brian Conley.

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Patrick Moloney and Linda Haydn.

There were speeches- marvellous funny speeches! Brian Conley started the balls in the air rolling with his introduction of Michael Harrison. Michael took over and delivered a hugely funny and irreverent “Turn” (too funny to be a speech) with a canny Paul Elliott impression or two, before introducing the man himself.

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Michael Harrison. Brian Conley.

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Jenny Seagrove . Bill Kenwright

There is too much to say about Paul in this piece- in his own words- “Read The Book!”. Available now. Its sixty years of a life in theatre- the shows he’s produced are legendary- so many- From Buddy- The Buddy Holly Story, Jolson (With Brian Conley and later Allan Stewart) Annie (With Lesley Joseph)Dirty Dancing, Stones In Their Pockets (a brilliant play- I loved it!) In this country, and on Broadway, through Private Lives (with Kim Catrall- a very good chapter that!) and Rock Hudson in “I Do, I Do”, Run For Your Wife in The West End For Years and Big Bad Man with Jimmy Edwards and Paul’s mate Eric Sykes- to David Suchet in The Last Confession.

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Me enjoying the Pavlova, with AndrewRyan, Lesley Joseph (Thank you for the photos Lesley- you take a mean pic) and Michael Harrison.

Thank you Paul and Linda for a truly memorable and lovely family day- The book is a cracking good read, and you can buy it from http://www.theatre-shop.com in glorious hardback. It has a staggering listing of all of Paul Elliott’s Pantomimes with cast lists- I need a good glass of wine and a day just to go through those lists. I’m very proud to say a lot of Paul’s early panto programmes are safely stored in my drawers! They will I hope be added to the collecting that one day will heading for the V&A.

Paul- Thank you for those fabulous Pantomimes, and all the friends I made along the way!

At the risk of offending- and Im sure I will- I’ve written down all the people at Paul’s Party that I can remember. I think altogether a hundred and twenty theatrical folk were there- so I hope to add to this list as I get reminded. Apologies if I missed you out, please let me know! Here they are in random order!

Paul Elliott

Linda Elliott

LJ & Haydn Elliott

Bill Kenwright

Jenny Seagrove

Ray  and Linda Cooney

Mrs Cooney

Duncan Weldon & Anne Sidney

Michael Harrison

Kathryn Harrison & Alfie

David Ian

Jonathan Church

Jamie Wilson

Jonathan Kiley

Jake Hind

Peter Tod

Chris Merino

John Newman

Daphne Palmer

John De Lannoy

Jon Conway

David Mervish

Carlos and Louis Candell

Patrick Maloney

Lesley Joseph

Andrew Ryan

Nigel Ellacott

Brian Conley

Anne Marie Conley

David Bownes

Carole Todd

Roger Hannah

Dinesh Khanderia

Bernard Jay

Robin Asquith

Jan Hunt

Jane Danielle

John De Lannoy

Barry Burnett

Karan David

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