As the cast of Happy Ever After are doing their best to make sure Cinderella gets to the ball in this year’s very special family Christmas show #MondayMemories turns the clock back to 1984 and a vintage pantomime from the archives. 

Opening on 21 December 1984 this was panto at its over-the-top best with a famous TV comedian heading the cast, a big West End star and a top-flight celebrity, ably supported by talented panto professionals, live animals and some (then) hi-tech novelty. 

One of the most versatile funny men in the business, Bernie Clifton (Buttons) – mounted on Oswald the orange ostrich – is a kind of comedy godfather to the likes of Vic Reeves. Harry Hill and Johnny Vegas. Having starred in two Carry On films before being cast in Coronation Street, Amanda Barrie (Fairy Godmother) was a big star in the mid-1980s and more recently starred in the TV drama Bad Girls. 

Suzanne Dando (Cinderella) was an Olympic gymnast turned TV presenter in shows like Anything Goes and Stopwatch. Female impersonators Burden & Moran were a showbiz institution for more than 30 years until Maurice Moran’s death in 1994. Their annual turn as the Ugly Sisters frequently brought them to the attention of even the more highbrow critics such as Kenneth Tynan who once said they “epitomise true variety”. 

Competing for the public’s attention with the 'super illuminated coach’ - oh yes, they were! - Gandey’s Lovable Shetland Ponies were trained by the famous circus family that can trace its showbiz history back to the mid-19th century and is still producing Europe’s largest big top circus. 

Published 21 December 2020