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21 Years of Pantomime

This year the two companies celebrate and incredible 21 years of partnership in Pantomime. It’s only fitting that this year’s pantomime Cinderella is the first pantomime performed by UK Productions at Blackpool’s Grand.

Both UK Productions and Blackpool Grand Theatre know the true value of pantomime and the yearly tradition for the families of Blackpool. Each year the numbers grow and the community engagement work grows with it. Blackpool’s Grand is committed to its engagement work which works alongside its rolling programme.

21 Years, back in 1996 the cast was Roy Walker the Northern Irish television personality and comedian, who worked for many years as both a television presenter and comedy actor. Best known as the original host of the game show Catchphrase (1986 to 99), and as one of the stars of the comedy showcase, The Comedians. And most recently in Pick Me! and The Real Marigold Hotel.

Walker is no stranger to Blackpool’s Grand and has appeared on stage many times in both Summer Spectaculars A Night of Laughter With…, and appearing in a special with Blackpool music icon Joe Longthorne in Joe and Roy’s Thursday Night Live.

21 years ago starring alongside Walker was Jenny Powell, now ITV’s Saturday Night primetime commentator host Bigheads.

Powell has been a presenter on BBC One’s To Buy or Not to Buy, presented the quiz show, Wordplay on Five, been a contestant on Channel 4’s Celebrity Come Dine with Me and BBC One’s Celebrity Masterchef. In 2012 and 2013, she appeared in two episodes of ITV2’s Lemon La Vida Loca.

The cast also included Jack Douglas and Tom Bright, and was Directed by George May.

UK Productions was formed in 1995 by Martin Dodd producing musicals and pantomimes, for which they are now one of the country’s most prolific producers. They are currently producing national tours of Legally Blonde The Musical and The Kite Runner, both of which will visit the Grand Theatre in 2018. West End producing credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and The Kite Runner (Wyndhams Theatre, and Playhouse Theatre), and other producing credits for national and international tours include The Kite Runner (2014), 42nd Street (1997, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2012), Oklahoma! (2010), Singin’ in the Rain (2009), Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (2005 – 2010), South Pacific (2007/8), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (2001/2, 2005/6, 2008/9), Jekyll and Hyde – The Musical (2004/5), Carousel (2003/4 and 2000), Fiddler on the Roof (2008, 2003), Murdered to Death (2002), Anything Goes (2001), The Pirates of Penzance (1998/9), and Barnum (1995/6).

UK Productions have a passion for pantomime, and currently produce shows for ten other theatres nationwide. In addition, they operate a busy production hire business utilising their extensive stores of Musicals, Pantomimes and Play sets and costumes. They hire out part and full productions to professional and amateur companies across the UK and internationally as well as designing and making sets, props and costumes to order. During Christmas of 2017-18 over 40 productions will benefit from UK Production sets, props and costumes.

Producer Martin Dodd of UK Productions said; ‘It’s been a 21-year love affair with this magnificent theatre, that really is one of the jewels in this country’s theatre stock. Working alongside the amazing team at Blackpool’s Grand we have not only produced 21 pantomimes but also many musicals that have started their life in this beautiful theatre. It is the perfect place to watch a show and the audiences that we play to in The Grand are some of the best and most responsive in the country. They certainly enjoy all of the elements that make up a great pantomime.’

Andrew Howard, Marketing Manager of Blackpool’s Grand Theatre said; ‘Having worked at the theatre for 18 years my pantomime knowledge is pretty ‘on point’. I think I could make a great stand-in.

It’s been fantastic working with Martin and the UK Productions team, and the many casts we’ve had over the years. I must say my standout years have included the characters played by Vicky Entwistle as the Wicked Queen, and the best Hook ever award must go to Tom Lister. Of course, in recent news Danny Miller won Best Actor and Lucy Fallon, Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards both have performed in Pantomime at Blackpool’s Grand.

After 21 years… The 2017 Cinderella cast includes JJ Hamblett (Union J) who will star as Prince Charming, Melanie Walters (Gavin and Stacey) as Fairy Godmother, Olivia Birchenough (Channel 5’s Milkshake) as the beautiful Cinderella and Jamie Morris and Tarot Joseph returning as the Ugly Sisters all starring alongside panto favourite the incredible Steve Royle (BBC Radio Lancashire) who will be making his 15th annual appearance starring as ‘Buttons’, the same role that Roy Walker played in 1996.

This year will also mark ‘Grand’ panto legend Steve Royle’s, 15th annual appearance. Royle has supported both Peter Kay and Dave Spikey on tour and was voted ‘Entertainer of the Year’ at the Red Rose Awards. Royle is also a Patron of the Friends of The Grand and works continually with the theatre on many projects.

I feel incredibly honored to have been part of the Grand Theatre Pantomime family for so long, it’s been an incredible 15 years. Having starred alongside so many stars and made some incredible friends like Su Pollard, Tom Lister, Danny Miller, and Vicky Entwistle.

This year celebrating 21 years of UK Productions pantomimes is fantastic. I joined in 2003 with Tony Caunter (EastEnders) and Maureen Nolan (The Nolans)’ said Steve Royle

Marketing Manager Andrew Howard added, ‘The pantomime season can’t come around fast enough for us all at The Grand and with such a stellar line-up we’ll be hoping for another record-breaking year. We’re delighted to announce Steve Royle will be sharing yet another magical Christmas with us, he’s one of the family. Putting on the panto takes a lot of hard work but it’s an incredibly rewarding experience seeing the magic it brings to so many children at Christmas time.

‘As the Grand aims to be the theatre of choice for Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre and to offer opportunities to enjoy, participate and learn through the arts this year we will be launching very special Magic & Sparkle tickets! We’d like our customers to think in these hard times of others that might not be as fortunate as themselves and how much of an experience they would be giving if they purchased one extra pantomime ticket at a very special rate. The theatre will then donate these Magic & Sparkle tickets to organisations and community groups who really need a special treat at Christmas. We’ve made it easy to do whether you’re booking in person, at the Box Office, or online. Just ask or look out for the Magic & Sparkle ticket add-on.’

The incredible Barbara Jackson Theatre Arts Centre who are returning once more with the most amazing dancers. Cinderella will also feature the sensational Shetland Ponies! Featuring sumptuous costumes, magnificent scenery and the unmissable and magical moment when Cinderella swaps her rags for a stunning ball gown and is transported to the Prince’s Ball.

Following last year’s incredible pantomime, Aladdin, Blackpool audiences are guaranteed another year of spectacular sets, dazzling costumes and side-splitting comedy. Book your seats today, otherwise not even your Fairy Godmother will be able to magic you a ticket to see Blackpool’s must-see Christmas show.

So after 21 years, it’s only fitting… Cinderella plays at Blackpool Grand Theatre from Tuesday 5 December 2017 to Sunday 7 January 2018. Tickets are available from or by calling the box office on 01253 290190.




Adults: Band A £23.50, Band B £23.50, Band C £18.50

Child: Band A £23.50, Band B £21.50, Band C £16.50

Concessions: Band B £2 off


Grand Friends Band B & C performances – All seats £18.50

Matcham Monkey Members Sat 9 & Sun 10 December – All seats £12.00

Family Ticket: £75.00 (Select 4 adult tickets and enter promo code FAMILY4TKT)

Senior Pass: £65.00 (Select 4 adult tickets and enter promo code SENIOR4TKT)

(available 2017: 15 Dec (7pm), 16 Dec (7pm), 27 Dec (2pm), 28 Jan (2pm)

2018: 1 Jan 2018 (2pm), 2 Jan (7pm), 4 Jan (2pm/7pm), 5 Jan (2pm/7pm), 6 Jan (2pm/7pm), 7 Jan (1pm))


Groups (20+): Band B tickets £16.50, Band C tickets £13.00

Schools as Above – One free teachers place with every 10 tickets PURCHASED

Groups & School bookings call 01253 743232

Audio Described and BSL Sign Interpreted performance – Sat 9 & Sat 16 Dec 2017 (2pm)

Running Time approx. 2hrs 20mins including interval (first few performances may be longer)