Oh Yes They Did!

This year marks an incredible 60 years since pantomime was first staged at Birmingham Hippodrome….that’s A LOT of glitter and greasepaint!

So what better way to celebrate than with a look back at some of the iconic stars who have donned the stockings and trod the Hippodrome boards across the years!


A Potted History of Pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome…

·        Back where it all began… Birmingham Hippodrome’s first traditional pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, opened on 21 December, 1957. The stars were comedians Beryl Reid, Reg Dixon and Freddie Frinton (as the Dame). It was such a huge success that the run had to be extended until 1 March 1958.

·        Having a ball…Over the Hippodrome’s history, the role of Fairy Godmother in Cinderella has marked the pantomime debuts of Jane Macdonald, Jodie Prenger and, this year, TWICE Mobo award-nominated actress and West End star Beverley Knight!

·        There is nothing like a dameIt was as an Ugly Sister in the 1961/1962 production of Cinderella that female impresario Danny La Rue made his first Hippodrome appearance- together with Alan Haynes. This was the Hippodrome's first production of Cinderella, which starred Lonnie Donegan as Buttons. As a life-long friend and admirer of Danny’s work, Ceri Dupree, who plays Ugly Sister Voluptua in this year’s production of Cinderella – is the proud owner of the original dress worn by the late, great Danny La Rue in the 1969 production of Queen Passionella and the Sleeping Beauty at the Saville Theatre in London.

·        It’s A Puppet! It isn’t just human stars who’ve brought in the laughs across the years here in Birmingham! Over its long history, the Hippodrome has played host to such family favourites as Sooty, George, Zippy and Bungle, Spit The Dog, Rod Hull and Emu, Nookie the bear, Churchill the Dog, Basil Brush, Orville and Cuddles the monkey!

·        When it comes to legends of variety, they don’t come much bigger than Morcambe and Wise. But did you know that Britain’s favourite comedy double-act appeared in Sleeping Beauty in Birmingham back in 1966? Their visit was famously immortalised by Central Television’s fledgling young reporter John Swallow, in a car-crash interview for ATV!

·        Surprise Surprise! In traditional panto, the role of principal boy is commonly played by a girl. But it may surprise (surprise) you to know that one of the most famous of these was none other than Cilla Black, who played the role of Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk in 1983/4.

·        And they lived happily ever after… In the 1991/1992 Hippodrome Cinderella, Des O'Connor played Buttons and Cinderella was played by Jodie Wilson. The couple subsequently married so this was the only time in panto history that Buttons got to marry Cinderella!

·        Hippodrome Favourites…From Julian Clary to Joe Pasquale, Brian Conley to John Barrowman, when it comes to audience favourites, Birmingham Hippodrome has always delivered. But it’s honorary Brummie Matt Slack who holds the record for the most consecutive appearances on the Hippodrome stage! This year marks Matt Slack’s fifth year starring in a Birmingham Hippodrome panto. By the time this year’s production draws to a close, he will have clocked up over 360 appearances on the Birmingham Hippodrome stage!

·        Double The Trouble: Comedy double-acts have always been a staple of the great British pantomime and nowhere more so than at the Hippodrome! Alongside entertainment legends Morcambe and Wise, famous double-acts to have graced the stage across the years include Mike and Berni Winters, The Krankies, The Chuckle Brothers and current stars The Grumbleweeds, who first appeared at the Hippodrome back in 2006.

·        Rockin’ in the aisles…Pantomime has never shied away from the world of popular culture and across the years, has played host to some of pop’s most famous faces. Over the years, the Hippodrome along has welcomed such star names as Cliff Richard, Frankie Vaughn, Jane McDonald and Irish pop group The Bachelors.

·        Fit For A Princess…From our favourite sporting stars to the biggest names in music, film and TV, panto wouldn’t be panto without a fairytale princess! Among the showbiz royals to tread the boards at Birmingham Hippodrome over the years are Bond girl Britt Eckland, Eastenders favourite Anita Harris and Lelita Dean, The Generation Game’s Rosemary Ford, actress and singer Melinda Messenger and current star; pop-princess Suzanne Shaw.

·        Something wicked this way comes…And of course, what’s a handsome prince or beautiful princess without an evil stepmother to soak up those hisses and boos! From star-turns by the likes of Lily Savage and Stephanie Beacham as The Wicked Queen in Snow White to Joan Collins’ perfectly putrid Queen Rat in Dick Whittington…being BAD has never felt soooo good!

 Panto year-by-year….

·         1957-1958

·         Jack and the Beanstalk   

·         Starring Beryl Reid, Reg Dixon & Freddie Frinton


·         1958-1959

·         Robinson Crusoe 

·         Starring David Whitfield

·         1959 - 1960          

·         Aladdin     

·         Starring Norman Evans, Dickie Valentine and Eve Boswell


·         1960-1961

·         The Sleeping Beauty       

·         Starring Jimmy Jewel & Ben Warriss      


·         1961-1962

·         Cinderella 

·         Starring Lonnie Donegan, Danny La Rue & Alan Haynes


·         1962-1963

·         Robinson Crusoe 

·         Starring Norman Wisdom


·         1963-1964

·         Puss in Boots                   

·         Starring Frankie Vaughan


·         1965-1966

·         Humpty Dumpty  

·         Starring Ken Dodd


·         1966-1967

·         Sleeping Beauty  

          Starring Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise


·         1967-1968

·         Aladdin     

·         Starring Harry Worth


·         1968-1969

·         Cinderella 

          Starring Des O'Connor, Jack Douglas, Freddie Sales & Joe Black


·         1969-1970

·         Babes in the Wood          

·         Starring Mike & Bernie Winters   

·         1970-1971

·         Dick Whittington   

·         Starring Freddie (Parrot Face) Davies, Anita Harris, Bernard Bresslaw & Billy Dainty


·         1971-1972

·         Jack and the Beanstalk   

·         Starring The Bachelors, Peter Glaze, Frank Carson and Don Maclean


·         1972-1973

·         Cinderella 

·         Starring Dickie Henderson, Arthur Askey and Alan Haynes      


·         1973-1974

·         Robinson Crusoe 

·         Starring Roy Hudd and Charlie Williams


·         1974-1975

·         Aladdin     

·         Starring Larry Grayson, Alfred Marks, Keith Harris & Cuddles


·         1975-1976

·         Emu in Pantoland

·         Starring Rod Hull & Emu, Billy Dainty & Carl Wayne


·         1975-1976

·         Peter Pan 

·         Starring Nyree Dawn Porter, Alan Curtis, Sheila Mathews and Veronica Barbieri        


·         1977-1978

·         Cinderella 

·         Starring Richard O'Sullivan, Tessa Wyatt, Frank Williams and Robert Young


·         1978-1979

·         Turn Again Whittington    

·         Starring Norman Wisdom, Elizabeth Larner and Tony Fayne    


·         1979-1980

·         Babes in the Wood          

·         Starring Les Dawson, Roger de Courcey and Julie Rogers       


·         1981-1982

·         Aladdin     

·         Starring Danny La Rue, Dilys Watling, Brian Marshall, David Ellen and Leon Greene 


·         1982-1983

·         Dick Whittington   

·         Starring The Krankies, Paul Henry and Billy Dainty


·         1983-1984

·         Jack and the Beanstalk   

          Starring Cilla Black, Gareth Hunt, Harry Worth, Paul Squire and Jimmy Cricket


·         1985-1986

·         Humpty Dumpty  

·         Starring Keith Harris and Orville, Windsor Davies, Rustie Lee and Norman Collier      


·         1988-1989

·         Jack and the Beanstalk   

·         Starring Windsor Davies, Bella Emberg and Tudor Davies        


·         1989-1990

·         Babes in the Wood          

·         Starring Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball, Christopher Biggins, Bernadette Nolan, Mike                Holoway, Pat Roach and The Halfwits  


·         1991-1992

·         Cinderella 

·         Starring Des O'Connor, Peggy Mount, The Simmons Brothers, Jodie Wilson, David                      Morton & Brian Godfrey, Ian Smith and ‘Brum’


·         1992-1993

·         Aladdin     

·         Starring Brian Conley, Michael Elphick, Danny La Rue and Britt Eckland        


·         1993-1994

·         Dick Whittington   

·         Starring Lesley Joseph, John Nettles, Jeffrey Holland, Ross King, Rosemarie Ford, Vince              Hill, Wolf from Gladiators, Wayne Sleep


·         1994-1995

·         Jack and the Beanstalk   

·         Starring Su Pollard, Ray Meagher, Kevin Lloyd, Judi Spiers, Don Maclean, Malandra                      Burrows, Zippy, George and Bungle, Mike Doyle and Scorpio from Gladiators


·         1996-1997

·         The Legend of Mother Goose and the Golden Eggs                  

·         Starring Matthew Kelly, Vicki Michelle, Suzanne Dando, The Chuckle Brothers, Robert                  Duncan, Russ Stevens, Bruce Roberts and Noel Butler


·         1997-1998

·         Goldilocks and the 3 Bears         

·         Starring Frank Bruno, Emily Symons, Don Maclean and Sooty


·         1998-1999

·         Cinderella 

·         Starring Brian Conley, Danny La Rue, Malcolm Boyden, Dawson Chance & Willy and                    Postman Pat


·         1999-2000

·         Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs        

·         Starring Lily Savage, Kriss Akabusi, Lizzie Wiggins, Colette Bibby, Sean Canning and                  Mark Halliday


·         2000-2001

·         Peter Pan – performed at the Alexandra Theatre as the Hippodrome was under                            construction

          Starring Joe Pasquale, Leslie Grantham, Kerris Peeling and The Acromaniacs


·         2001-2002

·         Dick Whittington   

·         Starring Brian Conley, Anna Brecon and Don Maclean


·         2002-2003

·         Aladdin     

·         Starring Amanda Barrie, Bobby Davro, Melinda Messanger, Don Maclean, John Challis,                Masashi Fujimoto and Spiderman


·         2003-2004

·         Cinderella 

          Starring Julian Clary, Dave Benson-Phillips, Lyndey McCaffrey, Henry Luxemburg and                   Malcolm Boyden


·         2004-2005

·         Jack and the Beanstalk   

·         Starring Joe Pasquale, Letitia Dean, Don Maclean and Charlie Cairoli 


·         2005-2006

·         Peter Pan 

·         Starring Joe Pasquale, Mina Anwar, Toby Hull and Emu, Kerris Peeling and Charlie                        Cairoli   

·         2006-2007

·         Cinderella 

·         Starring Brian Conley, Shobna Gulati, Nigel Ellacott & Peter Robbins, Dawson Chance &               Willy         


·         2007-2008

·         Aladdin     

·         Starring John Barrowman, Don Maclean, The Grumbleweeds, Peter Gallagher, Lila                        McConigley and Masashi Fujimoto


·         2008-2009

·         Robin Hood          

·         Starring John Barrowman, Don Maclean, Paul Zerdin, Malinda Parris, Helen Baker, Peter              Gallagher, Natalia Pestova & Alexei Kislitsyn (Dancing on Ice)"     


·         2009-2010

·         Sleeping Beauty  

·         Starring Joe Pasquale, Ray Quinn, Ceri Dupree and Lucy Evans         


·         2010-2011

·         Dick Whittington   

·         Starring Joan Collins, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Jeffrey Holland, Keith Harris with Orville            & Cuddles


·         2011-2012

·         Cinderella 

·         Starring Brian Conley, Basil Brush and Lynda Bellingham         


·         2012-2013

·         Robinson Crusoe & the Caribbean Pirates         

·         Starring Brian Conley and Lesley Joseph


·         2013-2014

·         Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs     

·         Starring John Partridge, Gok Wan, Stephanie Beacham, Gary Wilmot, Paul Zerdin and                Matt Slack   


·         2014-2015

·         Jack and the Beanstalk   

·         Starring Jane McDonald, Duncan James, Chris Gascoyne, Gary Wilmot, Paul Zerdin and              Matt Slack


·         2015-2016

·         Aladdin     

·         Starring Julian Clary, Marti Pellow, Lee Mead and Matt Slack


·         2016-2017

·         Dick Whittington   

          Starring John Barrowman,The Krankies, Steve McFadden, Matt Slack, Jodie Prenger and            Danielle Hope