Monthly Archives: January 2016

QDOS: The Hippodrome Party!

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Thursday 28th January 2016.

Tonight the Birmingham Hippodrome celebrated the party that heralds the close of the Qdos Pantomime “Aladdin”. The Panto run ends on Sunday night, when over 100,000 people will have enjoyed the run that starred Marti Pellow, Julian Clary, Lee Mead, Matt Slack and Andrew Ryan.

Tradition has it at Qdos HQ that a party is held at “The Hippo” and panto folk can see the show and enjoy a party as the last panto standing closes. Here is the full list of all those other Qdos Pantomimes in 2015-16

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I had the good fortune to watch “Aladdin” three times, and to celebrate a fantastic run. My own “panto for grown-ups” at Brick Lane Music Hall finished at 5.pm, and I dashed from there, shedding glitter to Euston and the brand new Birmingham Grand Central station in time for the second half!

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Yvonne & Gary Hind with Marti Pellow

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Julian Clary & Lee Mead.            David Robbins & Martin Ramsdin with Chris Hayward

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Teresa Nalton, Tony Priestley & Kathryn Rooney

Nigel with Allan Stewart, Kathryn & Martin

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The party included the “Aladdin” awards, organised by Martin Hinkins and guest presenters including Nick Thomas, Billy Pearce and a speech by “Aladdin” producer & Director Michael Harrison- not so much Red Carpet as Magic Carpet!

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Nick Thomas, Michael Harrison. Jonathan Kiley

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Nigel Ellacott & Widow Twankey, Andrew Ryan

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The fabulous- or “Fan” Tastic Aladdin Wardrobe Company, headed by Tony Priestley!

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Lovely to see Qdos head of wardrobe Teresa Nalton, and Sharon Kiel along with Beth Eden, Ian Wilson, Lesley Downey and Adrian Lesurf during the evening.

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The first person I met upon arrival was Producer David Ian. At one point in that room we had a good compliment of the “Rocky Horror Show” tour that my brother Vivyan Ellacott directed in the ’80’s- we had Jonathan Kiley who played Frank N Furter, David Ian who was Rocky and Andrew Ryan who played Brad Majors- and myself- I costumed the tour in the UK and abroad. We could do it all over again!

Andrew Ryan had a VIP visitor to the show. David Hartshorne brought the fabulous Jean Bayless to see the show. She was looked after by Company Manager Anthony Bishop, and given a tour backstage.

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Jean Bayless & Andrew Ryan

Jean was the original Maria in “The Sound Of Music” in the West End, and took over from Julie Andrews in “The Boyfriend” on Broadway. She starred alongside her friend Audrey Hepburn in two West End shows and is a veteran of two London Palladium Pantomimes- oh, and of course “Crossroads” on television! She lives in Birmingham.

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The Birmingham Hippodrome Company

 

 

In the words of the song- “What a swell party that was!” Thank you Qdos and Thank you the Birmingham Hippodrome. Next year’s pantomime will be “Dick Whittington!”

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Brian Godfrey- The Stage Obituary

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Some pictorial memories of Brian, and a page from the order of service. tributes were paid by Paul & Linda Elliott and by Robin Asquith at the service on Tuesday 26th January.

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Brian’s Obituary from “The Stage”.Richard Anthony BakerJan 26, 2016

During a long association with the master farceur Ray Cooney, Brian Godfrey appeared in many of the veteran’s romps, most notably Run for Your Wife. He also took part in foreign tours mounted by Derek Nimmo in his role as an impresario. In addition, he played dame or ugly sister for no fewer than 25 years for Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer.

Godfrey came from a theatrical family. His grandmother appeared in pantomime at the old Surrey Theatre; his uncle was the Cockney character actor, Tommy Godfrey.

At the age of 14, he was seen in the Judy Garland movie I Could Go On Singing. For Cooney, currently celebrating 70 years in showbusiness, he was assistant director at the Whitehall Theatre. In Run for Your Wife, he was cast as Bobby Franklin, the gay neighbour of a bigamously married cab driver, whose life, in the tradition of farce, is unbelievably complicated. He played the role more than any other actor, both in London and around the world. Other Cooney farces in which he took part included Wife Begins at Forty and Caught in the Net.

Godfrey’s television career began with Z-Cars and Dr Finlay’s Casebook and went on to embrace Jackanory, Father, Dear Father, the Kenny Everett Television Show and Hi-de-Hi!, in which he played a holiday camp comic after Ted Bovis, portrayed by Paul Shane, was sacked.

His film career was less successful. Queen Kong, a 1976 spoof of King Kong, never even made it to the screen after the producer Dino De Laurentiis (whose own big-budget remake was released the same year) successfully launched a legal injunction against it. The 2012 cinema version of Run for Your Wife, in which Godfrey had a cameo role, grossed only £600 during its first weekend after being panned by the critics.

Brian Godfrey was born on May 26, 1949 and died on December 25, 2015 at the age of 66.