Monthly Archives: September 2019

Birmingham Panto Launch!


Monday 16th September 2019

Today saw the Qdos “Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs” Pantomime launch at the Hippodrome Birmingham.

This is the London Palladium production with all the fabulous scenery, costumes and effects, and a stellar cast assembled for the run. It opens Saturday 21st December and runs through to Sunday 2nd February, two shows a day.

Producer and Director Michael Harrison together with Fiona Shaw, CEO and Artistic Director of the Hippodrome launched the panto today with an invited audience of Group Bookers and Friends of The Hippodrome attending events.Adrian LeSurf, Head of Marketing for Qdos was on hand to oversee the launch.

Meet The Cast!

Lesley Joseph returns to the Hippodrome to star as The Wicked Queen.


Lesley Joseph enthroned at the Hippodrome.

Here’s an interview with Lesley from the launch:

Lesley first did Pantomime at The “Hippo” in 1991. This year she has been working non stop since finishing the run of “Young Frankenstein” in The West End, “Cinderella” at Bromley, and going straight into the tour of Calendar Girls, and overlapping into the tour of “Annie”. She will be enthroned at The Hippodrome for the six week season!

Matt Slack is a Hippodrome favourite. This will be his seventh consecutive Pantomime here in Birmingham. It was great to see Matt in the Summer when The Hippodrome Celebrated 125 years, and we enjoyed a full evening’s entertainment (and a great meal on stage) hosted by Matt. It has been seven years since Matt did his first appearance in “Snow White ” here at The Hippodrome- he is now a Hippo Regular!


Matt Slack giving the Kiss Of Life a few centuries too late!

Here’s the launch interview with Matt on Celebrity Radio:

Playing the part of “The Spirit of the Mirror” is X Factor Winner Joe McElderry. Joe has spent most of this year starring in “Club Tropicana” the Musical playing Garry the Club Rep. It began touring in January in Bromley, and finished in Cardiff at the end of August. Joe is currently on his concert tour until rehearsals begin.


Joe McElderry – Spirit of The Magic Mirror

Here’s Joe’s interview on Panto Launch Day:

The Title role is played by Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes. Faye is known for her role as Kate Connor in Coronation Street. She has toured with “Legally Blonde” The Musical as well as “Grease” and “Shrek”. Here’s Faye’s interview on the day:


Faye Brookes- hopefuly not hungry right now!

The Queen Of The Black Country- self styled “Lazy Cow” Doreen Tipton is demoted to Lady In Waiting to the Wicked Queen this year at the Hippodrome. Youtube sensation Doreen leaves her daughters Trojan, Tangerine and Trollop behind in Wolverhampton tp join this year’s cast of “Snow White.



Doreen Tipton- Midlands Icon!

Returning to the Birmingham Hippodrome for the fourth time as Dame is Andrew Ryan.


Andrew Ryan plays Nanny Annie Asprin!

Andrew was here previously in “Dick Whittington” with John Barrowman and The Krankies, and before that in “Aladdin” with Marti Pellow and Julian Clary. Andrew appeared at the Hippodrome in “Robinson Crusoe” in 2012 with Brian Conley and Lesley Joseph. This is Andrew’s fifth Panto appearing with Lesley- Last year he Directed Lesley in “Cinderella” at Bromley.This is his Third panto with Matt Slack!

Here’s Andrew’s interview on Celebrity Radio along with Jac Yarrow in the studio.

Jac Yarrow arrived for today’s launch direct from winning the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award for his role as Joseph in “Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat” at The London Palladium. Producer Michael Harrison selected Jac to play Joseph while he was still at Arts Educational School. He finished the run of Joseph (for THIS year!)at the Palladium just in time to graduate from Arts Ed.


Jac Yarrow fresh from winning the Joe Allen Best West End Debut award for “Joseph”

Michael Harrison hosted the cast interviews in the Patrick Centre at the Hippodrome in front of an invited audience, with a lively Q&A session. Photocalls, press interviews and media moments organised by Adrian LeSurf, followed by an autograph signing and selfie session- A great day out at the Hippodrome!

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Joining the cast for the Pantomime season this year will be Flawless from Britain’s Got Talent, and of course, no Snow White Panto could be complete without the Seven Dwarfs and a full ensemble of singer/dancers to complete this epic production!

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Vicki Michelle- Only Once!


An Evening with Vicki Michelle- “I will say this only once!”

Holborn Pizza Express Live Tuesday 17th September 2019

Vicki, interviewed by her daughter Louise Fowler gave a sold out crowd a Great night of fun and chat with clips from an amazing career- from early TV appearances in “Dixon Of Dock Green” and “Softly Softly” through Film and Stage roles ending with her long running success as Yvette Carte Blanche in “Allo Allo” from 1982 to 1992- a staggering 85 episodes still airing on TV channels today.


The list of the great and good in both Comedy and Drama that Vicki has appeared with is staggering- from Ava Gardener, Laurence Olivier and Geilgud (Not forgetting Judy Dench!)Dame Joan Collins, Leoanard Rossiter, Dennis Waterman,  to the Giants of comedy Ken Dodd, Les Dawson and The Two Ronnies, with comedy sketches with Kenny Everett and Dick Emery thrown in for good measure!


Vicki with Gorden Kaye

Vicki’s early stage career (guided by Aida Foster’s Agency- I was with Anita Foster’s agency way back too!) led to a West End run with Dudley Moore, and The West End was to see her in several musicals as well as the long running “Allo Allo” theatre shows at the London Palladium and The Prince Of Wales. The Stage version toured the UK and Australia, New Zealand.

Along the way we had clips from shows, from Pantomime- a very Wicked Queen in pantomimes- her next one will be at The Opera House York this Panto Season- and lots of anecdotes- prompted by Louise about the antics on the “Allo Allo” set!


A great evening in the company of Vicki’s family- husband Graham was filming the show, and Sisters Anne & June with their family were there to support.



Many chums from “Show Biz”were there to join in the fun. It was great to see Mark Curry- Andrew Ryan and I toured with Mark in “Billy Liar” a good few years ago, and I did Wimbledon Panto with him shortly after. Good to see Matt Pallant, a very talented musician with his family that includes John D Collins from “Allo Allo”.

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Patti Boulay was there celebrating her Anniversary, and lovely to catch up again with Linda Reagan and husband Brian Murphy. Linda is known as a best selling Thriller and crime novelist today, and for her long running appearances in “Heidi Hi!”, and Brian of course for “George & Mildred” and “Last Of The Summer Wine” – just a small selection from their joint careers in the West End and Television.

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Ben Stock & Helen Power

Francesca Gonshaw from “Allo Allo” was there, along with Avril Gaynor (Avril was in the very first play ever staged at the Kenneth More Theatre when it first opened!). Ben Stock was there-with Helen Power- Ben taking a break from his rehearsals of “Mame”- Thanks for the use of the show photos Ben!


Among the Sold Out House was singer Rosemarie, Actress & Impressionist Debbie Arnold, and Dwina Murphy-Gibb, of the Robin Gibb charity for The  RAF Bomber Command Memorial- one of many charities Vicki is involved with- here are some of them:

President of Lady Taverner’s Regional Branch

President of The Heritage Foundation –London

Ambassador for Soldiering On Awards

Member of Grand Order of Lady Ratlings

Executive Committee Member of The Royal Variety Charity

Patron of The Gordon Craig Theatre

Patron of Blackfish Academy

Patron of Talent Time Stage School

Patron of The Dream Factory

Patron of Haven House Children’s Hospice

Patron of AA Dog Rescue

Patron of Essex Women’s Advisory Group


Vicki received the MBE from The Queen in the 2010 honours list for her charity work.

The Evening ended with Vicki telling us about her appearances Emmerdale, and  in Ray Cooney’s farces ,including the long running “Run For Your Wife”, and in the “Don’t Dress For Dinner” farce (along with Mark Curry) and her journey from Essex into “The Jungle” to appear on “I’m A Celebrity, Get me Out Of Here!”.


An incredible career- and a joy to hear it first hand from a very lovely lady – let’s hope she says this MORE than once and this show goes on the road to a town near you soon!