'It is fantastic to be back in this beautiful theatre': Hi-de-Hi! stars Su Pollard and Jeffrey Holland talk ahead of Wolverhampton Grand panto
A spectacular pantomime to thrill people of all ages is in store as Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre celebrates its 125th anniversary.
Audiences can join our hero Dick Whittington on the ultimate rags to riches adventure as they help him outwit Queen Rat and take his rightful place as Lord Mayor of London.
Ryan Thomas (Coronation Street, Neighbours) will star as Dick Whittington, alongside comedy legends Su Pollard and Jeffrey Holland (Hi-de-Hi!, Oh, Doctor Beeching! and You Rang, M’Lord?) in this year’s dazzling family panto.
Dick Whittington also sees the return of the Grand’s much-loved Dame, Ian Adams for a fourth consecutive year and welcomes comedian and celebrity impressionist Aaron James for his Wolverhampton panto debut.
Grand spokesman Scott Bird said: “The Grand’s sensational Christmas show features all the ingredients which make pantomime so magical – beautiful costumes, stunning sets, breath-taking special effects, live music and a lot of audience participation. Don’t miss this action-packed panto and book early to guarantee the best seats.”
Pollard is no stranger to The Grand and has made numerous performances at the venue over the years.
She said: “It is fantastic to be back in this beautiful theatre, I did my very first pantomime here so it just brings back fabulous memories. I love coming here, the people are great, it is a great tradition and it is great to be back with Jeff of course.
“It is a great pantomime – it is one of my favourites. Now I have morphed into the baddie, the first time I did it I was the goodie, I played Dick and I was the hero – now I have done full circle.
“My favourite thing is being backstage, getting your make-up on and then you hear the overture. This is it, the curtain is going up any minute now then it is my time to be on stage. I still get excited for every performance, very much so.”
She will be joined by co-star Jeffrey Holland, who hails from Walsall and starred in The Grand’s 1999 pantomime.
He said: “I am absolutely thrilled and I am delighted to be back at the Grand Theatre to do pantomime. It is a long time since I was here in pantomime – and it’s lovely this time to not be playing the Dame as well. I don’t have to put all that make-up on.”
“But the Grand Theatre is one of my favourite theatres in the whole country – I’m very proud of it and I am actually president of the Friends of the Grand too. It is a bit like coming home to me.
“Audiences in the Black Country can expect a lot of fun and a lot of colour in this pantomime – and a great night out for all the family, that is guaranteed.
“It is wonderful to be back working with Su again. It is the first time we have been reunited again since our sitcom days. It is actually 40 years this year since we made the first episode of Hi-De-Hi in 1979.”
It has been more than 10 years since The Grand staged Dick Whittington and producers plan to pull out all of the stops.
Pollard and Holland will be joined by Salford-born Ryan Thomas, who burst onto television screens on Christmas Day in 2000 in the role of Jason Grimshaw in the ITV soap Coronation Street, a role he played for over 16 years. Best known for romantic entanglements, Ryan left Weatherfield three years ago in an emotional departure following the death of his on-screen father. Since leaving the famed cobbles of Coronation Street Ryan went on to star in another iconic soap in Australia’s hugely popular Neighbours as the mysterious Rafael Humphreys.
Ryan also appeared on the second series of Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls which saw him fend for himself on the ultimate survival challenge, and on the final series of Celebrity Big Brother which saw him crowned the last ever winner of the iconic reality television show.
Adrian Jackson Chief Executive & Artistic Director of the Grand said: “I am thrilled that Ryan Thomas is joining The Grand’s 125th Anniversary pantomime Dick Whittington, in the title role.”
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