Stars of theatre and screen take to the stage later this month for this year’s UK festive pantomimes across the winter.
“We are hugely excited that our forthcoming pantomime season stars so many of the nation’s favourite performers on stage in 24 theatres around the country. We are very proud of our world-class productions which promise unmissable Christmas entertainment for all the family.” – Qdos Entertainment Chairman Nick Thomas
ATV Today takes a look at this year’s Qdos Entertainment pantomime season which will see productions of six timeless panto tales land in Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Cardiff, Crewe, Darlington, Dartford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hastings, Hayes, High Wycombe, Hull, Llandudno, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham, Plymouth, Southampton, Southend, Swansea, Swindon and Wolverhampton.
Starting in our favourite place – the midlands – and to our second home – Birmingham. This year Qdos will stage the city’s favourite pantomime with an all-star cast including pop legend and musical theatre star Marti Pellow (Abanazar), comedian Julian Clary (Slave of the Ring), West End leading man Lee Mead (Aladdin) and side-splitting funny man Matt Slack (Wishee Washee) in a blockbuster production of Aladdin. Nottingham’s production of Aladdin stars the inimitable doyenne of pantomime Christopher Biggins as Widow Twankey alongside pantomime newcomer Simon Webbe (Aladdin) from Blue, and Ben Nickless (Wishee Washee).
And last, but by no means least in the Midlands, in Wolverhampton, The Chuckle Brothers as Paul and Barry Smee, face off with another EastEnders alumnus John Altman (Captain Hook) in Peter Pan.
Leading the cast in Aberdeen’s Peter Pan, in the role of The Magical Mermaid, is Elaine C Smith, alongside Alan McHugh (Mrs Smee) and Jordan Young (Smee), while across the Irish Sea Belfast’s Grande Dame May McFettridge (May the Cook) will team up with Chico (Prince Chico) for an unmissable production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
In Bradford, Yorkshire’s panto king Billy Pearce (Jack) teams up with the hilarious Lisa Riley (The Spirit of the Beans), Only Fools and Horses’ legend John Challis (Fleshcreep) and Benidorm beefcake Jake Canuso (Benny Dorm) in a giant production of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Heading west to Cardiff, Linda Lusardi (Scheherazade) teams up with Steps star Ian H Watkins (Aladdin), Mike Doyle (Widow Twankey), rugby superhero Gareth Thomas (Genie of the Lamp), along with Andy Jones (Wishee Washee) and Sam Kane (Abanazar) in Aladdin.
Crewe’s Cinderella sees pop sensation Gareth Gates tread the boards in the role of Prince Charming, while making their eagerly anticipated Darlington stage debut will be Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh (Cinderella) and Pudsey, who are joined by Coach Trip’s Brendan Sheerin (Baron Hardup) and X Factor’s Niki Evans (Fairy Godmother) in a magical adaptation of Cinderella.
EastEnders’ actor Shane Richie, in the title role, takes up the rags-to-riches mantle of Dick Whittington in Dartford, and in Edinburgh’s production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the hugely successful trio of Allan Stewart (Nurse May), Andy Gray (Hector) and Grant Stott (The Wicked Queen) are reunited.
Across the M8 in Glasgow an all-star cast is headed by ‘The Hoff’ himself, David Hasselhoff (Captain Hook), with The Krankies (Ian & Jimmy Smee) and Michelle McManus (The Magical Mermaid) in a truly spellbinding production of Peter Pan.
Heading South, Jessie Wallace stars as The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella in Hastings, while in Hayes Blue star Lee Ryan leads the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood plays Captain Hook in High Wycombe’s swashbuckling production of Peter Pan, alongside Britain’s Got Talent finalist Paul Burling (Smee). In Hull Joe McElderry’s amazing vocal talent as The Spirit of the Mirror, meets the relentlessly hysterical shenanigans of Cannon & Ball (The Henchmen) in an uproarious production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; which also comes to life in Llandudno, starring Strictly’s Robin Windsor (The Man in the Mirror) and the hilarious John Evans (Muddles).
The North East’s Newcastle, can enjoy Dick Whittington which sees the hugely popular and record-breaking team of Danny Adams (Dick Whittington), Clive Webb (Councillor Fitzfenwick) and Chris Hayward (Dame Rita Fitzfenwick) joined by Emmerdale’s Charlie Hardwick as The Spirit of the Tyne.
In Northampton’s magical production of Cinderella, EastEnders star John Partridge (Prince Charming) is joined by CBeebies’ Sid Sloane (Dandini), Britain’s Got Talent pair Danny Posthill (Buttons) and Alison Jiear (Fairy Godmother).
In Plymouth Gok Wan as The Fairy Gokmother is joined by Paul Zerdin (Buttons) – fresh from winning America’s Got Talent – in a magical production of Cinderella, and Southampton’s production of Aladdin joins the hilarious Joe Pasquale (Wishee Washee) with Duncan James (Aladdin) from Blue.
More members of showbiz aristocracy take to the stage in Southend where Brian Conley, in his celebrated role as Buttons, is partnered with Birds of a Feather’s Lesley Joseph as The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.
Back in Wales Louie Spence hits Swansea as The Spirit of the Beans alongside Kevin Johns (Dame Trot) and Zoë George (Princess Apricot) to add an extra twist to Jack and the Beanstalk, while in Swindon, Adam Woodyatt leads the cast of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the role of Chambers.
Over the past four years audiences to Qdos Entertainment pantomimes, along with staff from Qdos Entertainment’s sister company HQ Theatres & Hospitality, have raised over £710,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Theatres for Theatres Appeal. Fundraising for the Appeal, which will help fund new operating theatres, will continue during the 2015/16 Qdos Entertainment pantomime season.