Interactive, entertaining and uniquely British, panto is the unsung hero of Christmas. As well as delighting the kids, what better chance is there to see unlikely combinations of C-list celebrities in unflattering costumes?
In 2012 there are plenty of treats to be had – we look at some of the classic pantos and which celebs are starring where.
London’s New Wimbledon Theatre will see Priscilla Presley of Naked Gun fame star opposite Warwick Davies from Star Wars, Harry Potter and Life’s Too Short.
Meanwhile at the Wycombe Swan Theatre, Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood will reprise his role of the Wicked Queen. Former MP and Strictly contestant Ann Widdecombe will also appear.
Liz McClarnon of Atomic Kitten stars alongside Coleen Nolan at the Liverpool Empire, whilst at the Swansea Grand Prince Charming is played by none other than Chico, who had a number one hit with the single It’s Chico Time after making it to the X Factor quarter-finals in 2005.
However Chico may well be out-camped by the outrageous Louis Spence from Pineapple Dance Studios who appears in Milton Keynes as the Prince’s servant Dandini.
David Hasselhoff swaps his red shorts and futuristic talking car for a plain old metal hook, as he takes on his most challenging role yet as Captain Hook at Opera House Manchester.
Jack and the Beanstalk
At the SECC in Glasgow, the Krankies will be joined by Torchwood actor John Barrowman. It’s a brave move by wee Jimmie Krankie actress Janette Tough, who was badly injured during a previous production of the classic tale.
Meanwhile the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton plays host to comedian Julian Clary as ‘the spirit of the beans’ and actor Nigel Havers as Fleshcreep.
Not to be outdone, the Hull New Theatre have enlisted the Chuckle Brothers (Paul and Barry Elliott) to work their comedy magic once again, whilst the New Wolsley Theatre is putting on a special rock and roll version.
By Milo McLaughlin