Monthly Archives: June 2018


“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!


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.


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.


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 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



Molly Limpet’s Exhibition


On Saturday June 22nd Molly Limpet’s Emporium opened up to the public

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Aladdin’s Cave for Dames and Ugly Sisters!

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The day was packed with panto aficionados,Dames, Producers, and Panto fans – hosting an exhibition of costumes, with Panto Dame & Wig creator, David Robbins and some bling Jewels to make the eyes water- all under one roof!

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More sequins than there are in Julian Clary’s pedal bin!

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Thanks to Daniel Dawson for the photographs. I was away that day, but it sounds like everyone went to the Ball!



It is with sadness that since publishing this article Dame Gillian Lynn died on 1st July 2018 leaving behind a huge legacy of work in this country and throughout the world. gillianlynne2


The West End has a New Theatre – The former New London Theatre has been named in honour of Dame Gillian Lynne.

In March 2018  Lord Lloyd Webber announced the theatre would be renamed to celebrate Dame Gillian, choreographer of Cats for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn. It is the first west end venue to be named after a non royal woman.

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The above photograph by Craig Sugden

This theatre has a long association with the Musical “CATS” – the musical premiered here in May 1981 and ran until 2002.

Gillian Lynne was made a CBE in 1997, and created Dame in 2014. She is ninety-one years old, with a career that saw her principal dancer at Sadlers Wells Ballet, and at the Royal Opera House, and Principal dancer at The London Palladium.

She has choreographed and staged Phantom Of The Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang  among her many talents. When I was working at the Haymarket in Leicester it was Gillian Lynne who choreographed the production of “My Fair Lady” with Tony Britton, Liz Robertson and Dame Anna Neagle.  She received a new category of Olivier award for her outstanding achievement of the year in a Musical.



Dame Gillian has appeared in pantomime- her first principal role was as Puss In Boots at The Coventry Theatre in 1957 with Harry Secombe starring and the up and coming Morcambe & Wise as the Miller’s Sons.

In 1962 Dame Gillian appeared as Queen Of Catland, opposite Dick Emery in “Puss In Boots” at The London Palladium Pantomime. The Pantomime also starred Frankie Vaughan, Jimmy Edwards, Joan Regan, Mike and Bernie Winters and Audrey Jeans.


Dick Emery with Gillian Lynne


The Gillian Lynne Theatre is directly opposite the Qdos suite of offices in Drury Lane.

PETER BYRNE : The Service


Tuesday 12th June 2018

After several years as a resident of Denville Hall, The Actor’s retirement and care home in Northwood, west London, Peter Byrne died on May 14th.

A Service was held at Breakspear Crematorium nearby, with a full house, and a very moving tribute to “A terrific actor and a great bloke”, as it said on the order of service, or Programme as it was referred to.

The service was conducted by The Reverend James Fields, with Paul Elliott giving a personal tribute, the reading of a letter from Sheila Welch and a tribute from Peter’s Step Daughter, Vivien Gee.

A great turn out of Family, friends and colleagues who worked with Peter over a huge career- Just some of that career is mentioned in an earlier item on this Green Room Site.

I wasn’t able to remember everyone that was there, but I made an attempt to recall some- and there was a lovely atmosphere of remembering and recall anecdotes and off and on stage moments with his mates, back at Denville Hall.

Apologies to those I’ve missed out- perhaps you can let me know the names I didn’t quite catch or recall and I can add them here.

Vivien and Anthony Gee

Val Foice & Family (Peter’s Cousin)

Paul and Linda Elliott,

Haydn And L J Elliott,

Lalla Ward (Chairman of Denville Hall)

Chrissie from Denville Hall

David Webster

Sheila and Nick Welch

Doreen Hermitage

Audrey Laybourne

Spencer K Gibbons and Rudi Gibbons

Rev Cindy Kent

Ken Morley

Anita Graham and Richard Harris

Mark Wynter

Joe Harmston

John Hobbs and Ian,

John Newman & Daphne Palmer

Chris Moreno

John Fleming

Sarah Whitlock

Sylvia Carson

Moira Foot

Belinda Carroll

Nigel Ellacott

Andrew Ryan

Christopher Ryan

Madeline Smith


A very lovely reception hosted by Denville Hall afterwards, and a big thank you for looking after us so well in this beautiful house.Thanks to Paul, Linda, Haydn and L J Elliott for organising such a tribute- It was a great send off. We left the service to the sound of “Dixon” himself, Jack Warner, singing the theme song “An ordinary copper” to the successful series, the one that Peter Byrne appeared in for 432 episodes, over 22 series and made him a household name.

God Bless Peter. It was a joy and a pleasure to have known  “A great bloke”.


Gary Wilmot MBE

Congratulations To Gary Wilmot, who today receives the MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List!


Long known as Dame Gary, This amazingly talented – performer has been officially recognised, and has received the MBE . Here at IBY we couldn’t wish this honour on a nicer chap!


Gary will be appearing as Dame in “Snow White” at The London Palladium this season, his second time as Dame at this famous West End Theatre.


Follow this link to our “SPOTLIGHT ON GARY WILMOT”


Summer Panto Continued

Panto In The Park. July 2018
Pumpkin Pantos in association with Camberley Theatre present
 ‘Panto in the Park: Red Riding Hood’ this summer!
Panto in the Park

Bursting with brilliant songs, jam-packed with jokes and crammed full of colourful characters, Red Riding Hood is a panto so funny you’ll be howling with laughter!

This performance takes place at 1pm at London Road Recreation Ground, Camberley, GU15 3HB on Saturday 28th July.



Here is a link to the show trailer: 



Summer Panto is on the way!

Half-term is over, and all over the UK Children’s shows kept families entertained during the week’s break. I enjoyed seeing the Stiles & Drewe “Goldilocks” at The Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford- great fun for all and one hour of sing-a-long entertainment with a happy family of porridge eating bears, A lumberjack and his fiesty daughter Goldi, perfect for the holidays.

Coming this summer- not one, not two but THREE pantomimes at Blackpool’s North Pier Theatre- Two for children and one strictly Adults only! Here’s the information:


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Gerry Graham Pantos & Productions bring some pantomime fun to Blackpool’s North Pier Theatre during August 2018, With not 1, not 2 but 3 Pantomimes!

For the family they present Cinderella every Wednesday in August at 2.30pm & 7pm & You are invited to join them for a up-to-date family friendly presentation of this well-loved, heart-warming rags to riches romance, with loads of comedy, pathos, music and audience participation, it’s a show not to be missed!

Then every Thursday in august at 2.30pm more family fun as they present Dick Whittington & his cat! Join them as Dick Whittington searches for Fame & Fortune, Will He find it or will Queen Rat & Capt Pigseye stop him? There’s only one way to find out – Book your tickets today!

Then for the big boys and girls who are 18 and over every Thursday in august at 8pm they present- Carry On Whittington, The Confessions of a Country Boy…
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It’s a bawdy pantomime only for big boys and girls over the age of 18!
Join the very raunchy team for a night of hilarious fun – it’s the perfect night for Hen parties, couples or just a group of friends!Once again – Carry On Whittington is a STRICTLY ADULTS ONLY EVENT.

An annual Holiday treat in Weymouth is “Pirates Of The Pavilion”, presented by Made To Measure Pantomimes, the company that presents the Panto each year at The Pavilion Theatre.


Pirates of the Pavilion is brought to you by the Producers of the Award Nominated Christmas Pantomime- SLEEPING BEAUTY, Made-to-Measure Pantomimes!

Pirates of the Pavilion is set to return in July with a brand new Jurassic adventure that’s guaranteed to have your ROARING with laughter!!

Featuring ‘REAL’ dinosaurs, including an eye-popping Flying Pterydactyl!

Pirates Of The Pavilion runs from Monday 30th July 2018 to Wednesday 29th August 2018

The Pavilion theatre tells us that they will be running a Relaxed Performance on Thursday 31 July at 1pm to accommodate people on the autism spectrum, as well as those with communication difficulties and learning disabilities.

Slight changes will be made to the show itself; any loud noises or strobe lighting will be omitted, the auditorium lights will be left on and audience members will be free to leave the theatre and spend some time in a quiet area set up in the foyer at any point during the performance. However, the fun, slapstick, comedy, music and laughter will stay exactly the same!

Bookings for the relaxed performance can only be made via the Box Office, call between the hours of 9:30am – 6pm or call  01305 783 225.