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isted below and here are details of the pantos that have been produced where I have had an involvement. This involvement usually is co-writing but also includes production, acting, sound, lighting, scenery, costume... Essentially, the panto is very much a team exercise where all those involved usually do more than one thing.

The years from 1991-1996 are covered in this page while the rest are located in the following pages 1997-2001 and 2002-. I have tried, as with all other drama groups, to photographs to prove that it isn't all just a figment of my imagination. Unfortunately for the earlier productions, pictures are non existant. Again, if there is anyone else reading this who has access to photographs from any missing years then let me know and I'll add them.

The titles and years are listed below:

You will have noticed that the majority of the titles are based on characters/TV/Films from popular culture. This is quite deliberate on the part of the writers and allows characters as diverse as Dr. Who to be in the same play as Tony Robinson (from Time Team) and Darth Vadar.

1991 Jack and The Beanstalk

I started my involvement in 1991 when Sheila wandered up to me and said that they were short of a script to perform for that year's panto. Why she particularly chose me is explained here. I decided to take it on and during a foggy afternoon the following Sunday, my good friend Dermot and I came up with a ridiculous script that, I seem to remember, revolved around two old blokes sat around a brazier in an abandoned aircraft hanger on Tockwith Aerodrome.

Needless to say this was not in the slightest bit funny to anyone else and we tried again. Eventually we settled for an update to the story of Jack and The Beanstalk I finished a broad outline of the script. To be honest, it was about the poorest thing that I have ever written and looked like it was conceived at around 4:00am in the morning while under the influence of a heavy cold. Largely because it was!

About the funniest thing was our 'little' giant, which in itself is as hackneyed as it gets, that had Lionel crawling around the stage with slippers attached to his knees.

1992: Batman Returns (The Empties)

Castlist Ah, the famous cast of thousands and a host of extras, 33 to be exact. Not only was this a logistical nightmare on the day, at that point all we had to change in was a blocked off corridor, but it was a director/producer's nightmare. The story involved Batman. Robin and their ever resourceful butler saving The British Library from a ruthless group of people hell bent on making members of staff redundant. I use the word 'story' loosely since with six different writers working in four teams that never talked to each other, the plot was about as coherent as an un started jigsaw puzzle.

Of the few notable points was the great batmobile 'driven' by Pete and Al, and Mark, in his first panto role playing the Joker complete with pink suit and green hair. I myself also made my acting debut playing Jim Dreg, a worthless employee who gets sacked during the third scene. Best thing for him really.

1993: Robin Hood

Aside from an involvement in the script writing, I played no part in this production due to 'creative differences.'

1994: Dracula's Behind (With His Taxes)

Finale This was somewhat of a departure for the panto in that there was very little about the script that was to do with the Library. It involved Dracula being behind with his taxes battling to save his home from the evil Van Helsing (me!) His only way to raise the cash was to get all his old pals from horror movies back together for a one off. It was a sort of Blues Brothers meets Hammer Horror meats The Good Old Days.

The old time music hall 'acts' consisted of a rendition of 'Fangs Aint What They Used To Be' by Drac and Wolfman, a slippered tap dance by Frankenstein, a bizarre clairvoyance act and Dr Jekyll becoming a drunken Mr Hyde after consuming a bottle of Whiskey. All these were punctuated by the dim Igor's attempts and the camp repartee between the Phantom of the Opera and the orchestra pit (one guy on a piano.)

This production also started off the era of smaller casts and a reduced number of writers, based around a core of Mark and myself. Both of these have returned more 'professional' production values and consequentially better shows.

1995: Star Trek And Voyage Of DiSCovery

Castlist Confession time here. The four writers, Mark, Dermot, Gareth and myself all happened to get the best parts as members of the Enterprise crew, McCoy, Scottie, Kirk and Spock respectively. A bit naughty, really, but it seemed to work. We also debuted the use of BL senior management for walk-on parts. Bob was a great sport as he walked through the curtain in his red jersey just before the landing party beamed down to the planet. (For those who are not trekies, in the original series there was always a guy in a red uniform who accompanied the main crew members. He never made it back!) Just to make absolutely certain that the Klingons didn't miss him he was fitted with a special 'bullet-proof shield' consisting of a round piece of cardboard with broad concentric circles.

The Klingons, for some strange reason, probably something overactive on the part of the writers, were played by women dressed in black leather and lace, carrying whips and riding crops with heavy German accents. On the video, you can actually hear the intake of breath from the audience as Heather walked on.

1996: Missing? Impossible!

Cast Lionel as a Director Yours truly as Doyle Dermot as Bodie and yours truly as Doyle

Up until this past year's production, this was generally thought to have been the best panto that had been performed. This isn't to say that 1997 and 1998 weren't fun and enjoyed by all, it's just that some years it all clicks together.

The plot was that a number of senior managers were disappearing which tied nicely in with the large number of early retirements that had happened during the year. The Library decided to hire the best detectives possible to solve the mystery. The detectives included Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot and The Professionals Bodie and Doyle. All searched out the evil genius behind the plot The name of the character was divulged in one of my favourite exchanges in any panto.

Holmes Never fear, my simple friend! As I was about to tell you, I have received some information. There have been several sightings of a rather suspicious character lurking around this area.
Watson What did he look like?
Holmes Apparently, he was rather like a character from a James Bond film.
Watson Who?
Holmes Somewhat of a cross between Bloefeldt and Oddjob
Watson What's his name, then?
Holmes Well, let's just hope that it's 'Oddfelt', shall we? Come on!

Good stuff, eh? I guess that Dermot and I stole the show as the Professionals using nothing more than a wave at the audience. Proof positive that when it comes to comedy, less is definitely more. We also had a rip-roaring finale with a mass chase scene to the accompaniment of Misirlou that included a camel!

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