Christmas is undoubtedly the happiest time of the year for the West End Whingers. Phil gets his Winter Fuel Allowance which Andrew suspects goes mostly on gin down at Aldi.
Andrew, meanwhile, gets to spend many gleeful hours looking out for who’s appearing in what in pantoland.
The Independent is equally excited and runs a long feature about panto today in which it seems almost as excited as Andrew about the unlikely rag bag of celebrities, has-beens and”who?s” that are about to tread the boards:
After a successful panto debut as Hook in Peter Pan at Wimbledon last year, Henry Winkler, the former Fonz, is reprising the role at Woking (where, last year, the lucky punters got Patrick Duffy of Dallas and The Man From Atlantis fame as Baron Hardup in Cinderella). Paul Michael Glaser, the original Starsky, is losing his panto virginity, also playing Hook, at the Churchill in Bromley (Antonio Fargas, the original Huggy Bear, is practically a panto slut – this year he’s in Jack and the Beanstalk in Derby). Most startling of all, at the Sunderland Empire, Baron Hardup is to be played by the 87-year-old Mickey Rooney.
Mickey Rooney at the Sunderland Empire? Yes, it’s true.
Thankfully all this research is much easier these days thanks to panto-specialist sites such as the excellent. It’s behind you. Sadly they’re a bit behind this year and don’t expect to get their Where Are They? 2007 page up until 7th December. When they do it will probably be here. It’s always worth a look
But despite all this happy news, not all is going so well in pantoland as you may have guessed from the title of the post.
The ex-soap performer was forced to apologise and was slapped with an on-the-spot fine by police after swearing in front a 3,000-strong crowd which included hundreds of children on Wednesday night.
But on Thursday morning, producers of Jack and the Beanstalk said they were looking for a new actor to take the lead role of Jack.
Viv Wells, of Pele Productions, said: “He has been sacked, obviously because of what happened last night.
“We are a family-run business, I have three children of my own and our shows are for families and do not even have any innuendo in them.
“I did not have my kids with me last night, but I was left feeling sick because of what he has said in front of an audience of children and families.
The Whingers particularly love that bit about feeling sick. They know all about that.
Anyway, Paul Danan (who apparently used to be in Hollyoaks and Celebrity Love Island whatever they are) tried to make amends with a video apology in the Lancashire Evening Post but it was all to no avail and he’s now “resting” over Christmas.
What has frustrated the Whingers about the coverage of this Christmas tale is that the media has been very coy about the details of the incident. But thank heavens for the Internet. According to Holy Moly, Danan tried to inject some enthusiasm into the proceedings by screaming at the crowd: “Make some motherfucking noise, Preston!”
Storm in a teacup if you ask us.