About this time of year I like to check the marvelous its-behind-you.com and see who is putting bums on seats in the provinces for the Panto season this year. I have fond memories of seeing Les Dawson at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, going completely off script throughout, and the great John Inman as Mother Goose in Stockport had me in stitches. I’m kind of amazed it’s still going -so it’s kind of nice that in a world full of competing ‘experiences’ for kids who are probably taken to gigs or Glastonbury with their parents pre-teen (unheard of in my yoof) , or can see their favourite TV & film stuff recreated as high concept live events there’s still a place for this extremely broad, camp, end-of-the-pier showbiz silliness even if the thrill of ‘someone off the telly’ being there in person surely can’t have the same pulling power. It also provides gainful employment for TV and light entertainment staples of the 70s and 80s -so – The Grumbleweeds, The Krankies, Little Jimmy Osmond, Bernie Clifton, Ian Beale, Paul ‘Reggae Like it Used to Be’ Nicholas, Todd ‘Tucker’ Carty, Jeffrey ‘Do your funny Policeman Spike’ Holland – and many many more will be able to put a Goose on the table this year.
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