WATCH: Su Pollard and Jeffrey Holland all set for Wolverhampton panto
It's nearly that pantomime time of the year again – oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is!
And Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is hitting the hi-de-heights with Su Pollard and Jeffrey Holland starring in this year's pantomime Dick Whittington.
The duo, who starred together in television sitcoms Hi-De-Hi, Oh, Doctor Beeching! and You Rang M'Lord? were reunited at the theatre this week ahead of the popular pantomime taking to the stage from December.
WATCH: Su and Jeffrey excited for panto
Su will play the evil Queen Rat and Walsall-born Jeffrey will play Alderman Fitzwarren. They will be joined by the Grand's much-loved panto Dame, Ian Adams – who will be back for the fourth year in a row – former Neighbours and Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas and comedian Aaron James.
At Wednesday's pantomime launch, Su and Jeffrey were joined by her team of rats, as well as a surprise appearance from Duncan and Trent the rats straight from Dudley Zoo – the pantomime's local partner.
Su Pollard was last in a Grand Theatre pantomime more than 40 years ago, where she played Dame in a production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. She has since appeared at the Grand Theatre as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and as Miss Hannigan in Annie.
Su 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.
"Audiences can certainly expect spectacle, magic, great comedy, fabulous music, everything you come to expect from a pantomime. There are a couple of surprises too!"
Jeffrey Holland, who is originally from Walsall, played Dame in the Grand's 1999 pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk and most recently played Danny in the Grand Theatre's in-house production of Brassed Off. He is best known for his performance as Spike in Hi-De-Hi but has also enjoyed a lengthy stage and television career.
Jeffrey 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 wel;. 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."
In what promises to be another spectacular Grand Theatre pantomime and a 125th anniversary spectacular, theatre-goers can join hero Dick Whittington as he seeks fame, fortune and happiness as he becomes the Lord Mayor of London.
Guided by the magical Fairy Bow Bells on an adventure that sends him from London town to the High Seas headed for Morocco, can he outwit the evil Queen Rat, free London from her team of revolting rodents and win the beautiful Alice's hand in marriage?
Scott Bird, press and PR manager at the Grand Theatre, added: "It is the theatre's 125th anniversary and we are looking at pulling out all of the stops for this year's pantomime. Dick Whittington, out of all the pantomimes, is the classic British story.
"It has been more than 10 years since we performed Dick Whittington here – and this year we have a great cast. We have Ian Adams returning again, plus Su and Jeffrey – it is a really nice mix of stars."
Dick Whittington runs from Saturday, December 7 to Sunday, January 12 2020. For tickets, visit the theatre in person, call 01902 429212 or visit www.grandtheatre.co.uk.
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