THE BILL STAR HOOKED ON CARLISLE PANTO ROLE
It's one of the world’s favourite stories – crammed with fantasy, fun, and jaw-dropping spectacle…
And in December, the magical story of Peter Pan will be brought impressively to life in Carlisle as it becomes this year’s Sands Centre pantomime.
There to make sure it is as professional as it will be fun-packed will be a host of musical and acting talents – some of them home-grown.
Two of the best known faces to take to the stage will be the BAFTA nominated actor Darragh Mortell, who has appeared in Hollyoaks and Dani’s House; and this year’s Captain Hook, played by Chris Ellison – who is best known for playing DI Burnside in the ITV police drama The Bill.
Chris said: “It’s the fourth year I’ve been asked to play Captain Hook, and he’s a great character. I intend to play him as an old Etonian.
“That’s the way JM Barry wrote the character. I’m looking forward to being booed – there’d be something wrong if I wasn’t! I’ve played loads of villains in my time as an actor, but Hook’s a nice one.”
Darragh will play Peter Pan. “I’ve never played him before but I’m looking forward to doing it,” he said.
“But I have to admit that I’m a little apprehensive about the flying as I’ve never been more than 6ft above the ground on a stage before.
“But I reckon Peter Pan is the best of the fairy tales, which is why it keeps being retold and retold.
“I remember seeing it in Newport when I was a kid of nine and I was a fan.”
Carlisle’s very own Robbie Dee – known for his morning show on CFM – will return to the role of Smee, Captain Hook’s boatswain.
He said: “It’s fantastic to be back at The Sands Centre for my 12th year running. It’s like my second home at Christmas. I absolutely love it.
“Panto is something that’s just so very, very British. It’s something for all the family, that can be enjoyed on different levels by different people; by both the kids and by their mum and dad.”
Amelia Butcher, 19, from Wreay, will play the part of Wendy. The former Caldew School pupil is firmly set on a career in acting – and her panto role will be the perfect preparation. “For me, this is the best way to spend Christmas,” she said.
Director Guy Pascall added: “Peter Pan is the most magical pantomime of them all and ever since Disney sprinkled their magic touch on the story it’s become a firm favourite with audiences.”
Tickets for the panto, which runs from December 12 to 31, are now on sale.
Call the Box Office at the Sands for details on 01228 633766.