The Palladium Pantomimes
We are very grateful for the help of Chris Woodward - archivist of The London Palladium Theatre Collection
The London Palladium can trace its history back to 1870, when a hall known as The Corinthian Bazaar was erected on the site of the Duke of Argyll’s residence- the current Palladium stands on Argyll Street. Twelve years later the building was enlarged, and renamed Hengler’s Circus. Early pantomimes were produced there-Cinderella, Jack the Giant Killer and Red Riding Hood amongst others, but it was not until it became The London Palladium in 1910, that the building began a tradition of presenting top class Pantomimes. In 1914, for matinees only the Palladium presented Dick Whittington and his Cat for a few short weeks, starring Clarice Mayne and Harry Weldon.
The following year (1915) the Palladium presented Cinderella, following that with The House That Jack Built in 1916. After the end of the First World War the Palladium did not present another pantomime until 1922, with Aladdin. The next year Clarice Mayne and Nellie Wallace starred in Dick Whittington. In 1925 Clarice Mayne returned in Cinderella, with Charlie Austin, to be followed by Aladdin in 1926 and once again Cinderella in 1927.
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Cinderella at the Palladium - 1926
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After this period, the Palladium changed its policy, with George Black as Managing Director. The Palladium was to present different seasonal programmes.
It was not until the late 1940’s that the London Palladium established itself as the home of the most prestigious West End Pantomimes. Notable productions included “Humpty Dumpty” in 1951 with Norman Evans (Over the Garden Wall) and Terry Thomas, The 1953 production of “Cinderella” with Julie Andrews as “Cinders”, with Max Bygraves and Richard Hearne, and the 1954 “Mother Goose”, starring Peter Sellers, Richard Hearne (Mr Pastry) as Dame, and Max Bygraves. The script for this panto was written by Eric Sykes and Spike Milligan.
The 1956 “Aladdin” saw a break in tradition with Norman Wisdom cast in the role of Principal boy, launching an era that was to last for fifteen years. The role of “boy” was filled by stars such as Cliff Richard, Frank Ifield, Frankie Vaughan and Tommy Steele. It was not until Cilla Black played the role of “Aladdin” in 1970 that the balance was restored, and the Palladium returned to using male performers in the role from 1972 onwards, with a few exceptions- Marti Webb in 1987 for instance.
Other notable Pantomimes were the 1969 “Dick Whittington” with Tommy Steele, the 1972 “Cinderella” featuring Terry Scott and Julian Orchard as the Ugly Sisters, and the “Cinderella” featuring Dame Anna Neagle as Fairy Godmother, her last stage appearance, in 1985/6.
THE PANTOMIME LIST
|Year||Production||Starring||Click on image to enlarge|
|1948||Cinderella||Tommy Trinder, Evelyn Laye and George & Bert Bernard|
|1949||Puss in Boots||Tommy Trinder & Zoe Gail|
|1950||Babes in the Wood||Jewel & Warris, Eunice Gayson, Adele Dixon, Sonnie Hale, Herbert Hare|
|1951||Humpty Dumpty||Norman Evans, Terry Thomas, Peggy Mount, Gillian Lynne, Noele Gordon|
|1952||Dick Whittington||Frankie Howerd, Richard Hearne, Sonnie Hale, Warren Mitchell and Vanessa Lee.|
Max Bygraves, Julie Andrews, Richard Hearne, Adele Dixon, Jon Pertwee, Tony Simpson, Ted & George Durante, Joan Mann, David Dale, Cyril Wells, Elaine Garreau, Silvia Ashmole
Peter Sellers, Richard Hearne, Max Bygraves, Shirley Eaton, Margaret Burton
|1955||No Pantomime||The Revue “Painting the Town” starring Norman Wisdom & Ruby Murray|
|1956||Aladdin||Norman Wisdom, Sonnie Hale, Valentine Dyall, Ken Wilson, Stephanie Voss, David Davenport and Hope Jackman|
|1957||Robinson Crusoe||Tommy Cooper, Arthur Askey, David Whitfield|
|1958||Sleeping Beauty||Charlie Drake, Edmund Hockridge, Bruce Forsyth, Bernard Bresslaw|
|1959||Humpty Dumpty||Harry Secombe, Roy Castle, Alfred Marks|
|1960||Dick Whittington||Norman Wisdom, Yana, Billy Whittaker, Desmond Walter-Ellis, Dave Jackley & Tommy Locky, Eddie Leslie, Thelma Ruby, Ken Wilson, David Davenport and Sadie Corre.|
Old King Cole
Thanks to David Cavanagh for this information
|Charlie Drake with Janette Scott, Jackie Ray, Gary Miller, Bert Brownbill, Billy Danvers, Roger Delgado, Sandra Michaels, Pamela Cundell & the Seven Volants|
|1962||Puss in Boots||Frankie Vaughan, Joan Reagan, Jimmy Edwards, Mike & Bernie Winters, Dick Emery, Gillian Lynne|
|1963||No Pantomime||The Revue “Man in the Moon” starring Charlie Drake|
|1964||Aladdin||Cliff Richard (Aladdin);
The Shadows (Bruce Welch, Hank Marvin, Brian Bennett & John Rostil as
Wishee, Washee, Noshee, Poshee);
Arthur Askey (Widow Twankey)
Una Stubbs (Princess Balroubadour), Charlie Cairoli (Chief Inspector Bathrobe) , Alan Curtis (Abanazar), Wendy Barry (Genie of the Ring), Michael Henry (Grand Vizier), Billy Tasker (Town Crier), Paul King, Little Jimmy, Henry Lytton & Johnny Volant Five (Chinese Policemen), Joan Palethrope (So Shy), Audrey Bayley (Tai-Ping), Tom Chatto (Emperor of
|1965||Babes in the Wood||Frank
Ifield, Arthur Askey, Sid James, Kenneth Connor and Roy Kinnear.
Elaine Paige and Sharon Osbourne (Arden) were part of the Aida Foster Children.
Thanks to David Cavanagh for this information
Richard starred as Buttons in "Cinderella" with The Shadows as
Broker's Men, Terry Scott and Hugh Lloyd as Ugly Sisters, Peter Gilmore
as The Prince, Tudor Davies as Dandini, Jack Douglas as Baron Hardup,
Pippa Steele as Cinderella and speciality act The Adorable Tanya - a
Although not listed Sharon Osbourne (Arden) was part of the Aida Foster Children for this production.
|1967||Robinson Crusoe||Engelbert Humperdink, Arthur Askey, Jimmy Logan, Hope & Keen and Tricia Money|
|1968||Jack and the Beanstalk||Jimmy Tarbuck, Arthur Askey, Jean Bayless and Ivor Emmanuel|
Steele, Mary Hopkin, Billy Dainty, Kenneth Connor
Thanks to Pat Richmond for the handbill image.
It has recently come to light that David Essex was in the ensemble of this production and actually understudied Tommy Steele in the title role, performing the role on occasion.
|1970||Aladdin||Cilla Black, Leslie Crowther, Terry Scott, Alfred Marks|
|1971||Cinderella||Ronnie Corbett, Terry Scott & Julian Orchard, Clodagh Rogers, The Patton Brothers|
|1972||Babes in the Wood||Edward Woodward, Adrienne Posta, Julian Orchard, Derek Nimmo, Rod Hull and Emu|
|1973||Jack and the Beanstalk||Frankie Howerd, Dora Bryan, Mark Wynter, Alfie Bass, Calli, Michael Kilgarrif|
|1974||No Pantomime||The Musical “Hans Christian Andersen” Starring Tommy Steele, Milo O’Shea, Lila Kaye|
|1975||No Pantomime||The Musical play “Peter Pan” starring Ron Moody as Captain Hook, and Lulu as Pan|
|1976||Cinderella||Richard O’Sullivan, Richard Hearne, Yootha Joyce, Brian Murphy, Gordon & Bunny Jay, Fiona Fullerton, Robert Young|
|1977||No Pantomime||The Musical “Hans Christian Andersen” starring Tommy Steele, Anthony Valentine, Sally Ann Howes|
|1978||Aladdin||Danny La Rue, Wayne Sleep, Wei Wei Wong|
|1979||No Pantomime||The Musical “The King & I”|
Jim Davidson, Mollie Sugden, Windsor Davies, Lionel Blair, Melvyn Hayes
Musical “Barnum” starring
|1982||No Pantomime||Barnum continues until Feb 1983|
|1983||No Pantomime||The Musical “Singing in the Rain” Starring Tommy Steele, Roy Castle|
|1984||No Pantomime||Singing in the Rain continues until Oct 1985|
|1985||Cinderella||Des O’Connor, Dame Anna Neagle, Paul Nicholas, Hope & Keen, Lambert & Ross (as the ugly Sisters), Sarah Payne and John Junkin|
|1986||No Pantomime||The Musical “La Cage aux Folles”|
Babes in the Wood
Cannon & Ball, Marti Webb, Barbara Windsor, John Inman, Derek Griffiths, Cheryl Baker, Peter Howitt, Nicholas Smith, The Sanctus Troupe, Rod Hull & Emu
The 1987/88 Pantomime was the last, to date, to play the Palladium.
The Current attraction is the X-Factor Musical 'I Can't Sing'
This page was last updated 6th April 2014