A new Dame is launched today- Paul Merton will be Widow Twankey at Wimbledon for Qdos.
I had great fun assisting Paul with his make-up for this photo shoot a few weeks ago, and got the chance to chat panto with someone who has a great love of pantomime and Variety, and its history. It was a fun afternoon!
Paul’s pantomime roots are in Wimbledon.He saw shows there through his childhood and when he first applied to join British Actor’s Equity, he discovered that his name- Paul Martin- was already taken. He chose the name of the area he grew up in.
He found his love of comedy in The Comedy Store, Soho. In 1982 he started to make regular appearances , and still performs regularly with The Comedy Store Players.
Paul’s Television and radio career has spanned “Whose Line Is It Anyway”, “Have I Got News For You” (starting in 1990) “Paul Merton- The Series, and Paul Merton in Galton & Simpson performing scripts written originally for Tony Hancock, along with presenting “Room 101”, A South Bank Special and the long running “Just A Minute” radio show.
His fascination with variety and pantomime led him to present the documentary “Paul Merton’s Palladium Story”.
Paul is no stranger to Pantomime on Television. He has starred in four of them:
In 1998 Paul appeared in ITV’s “Jack and The Beanstalk” as The Narrator. This pantomime featured Julie Walters and Julian Clary. Dame Trott was played by Adrian Edmondson.
In early 2000 Paul appeared as The Spirit Of The Ring opposite Julian Clary as Slave of The Lamp in ITV’s “Aladdin”. Widow Twankey was Coronation Street’s John Savident.
Later in 2000 the ITV pantomime was “Cinderella”- Paul’s first time putting on the make-up and frock of The Ugly Sister opposite Ronnie Corbett. Julian Clary appeared in the Fairy Godmother role.
In 2002 Paul Merton Paul appeared in ITV’s Pantomime “Dick Whittington” playing The Captain, with Sarah The Cook played by Richard Wilson.
During our make-up session we had a great chat about the traditions of pantomime- Paul has a great love of things variety and of the history of Pantomime. It was a joy to be a small part of this transformation- launching a new Panto dame in his home theatre!