BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Oh yes it is! Pantomimes are set for a West End return in time ...

Showman Michael Harrison told me exclusively that, because we're all 'going to need a laugh at the end of the year', he's signed up a cavalcade of stars led by Julian Clary (pictured above as The Man in the Mirror in Snow White at the London Palladium)

Showman Michael Harrison told me exclusively that, because we're all 'going to need a laugh at the end of the year', he's signed up a cavalcade of stars led by Julian Clary (pictured above as The Man in the Mirror in Snow White at the London Palladium)

Panto will be back at the London Palladium in time for Christmas. Oh yes it will!

Showman Michael Harrison told me exclusively that, because we're all 'going to need a laugh at the end of the year', he's signed up a cavalcade of stars led by Julian Clary; including special guest Beverley Knight, plus Ashley Banjo and Diversity, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot. Young stars Charlie Stemp and Jac Yarrow will be there, too; mainly to serve as the butt of Clary's ribaldry.

Called Pantoland, the show will be a variety spectacular celebrating the art of the pantomime, with performances beginning at the Palladium from December 12 for a strictly limited, three-and-a-half week run until January 3.

Harrison said it would have been impossible to present a traditional fairy-tale extravaganza, of the kind for which the Central London venue has become famous, because numbers are limited, on stage and off, thanks to the rules on self-distancing.

Palladium owner Andrew Lloyd Webber has arranged for seats in the stalls and circle to be reconfigured, reducing the capacity from 2,200 to 1,200.

Producer Harrison noted that LW Theatres 'has made the Palladium safe, both front of house and backstage', and that the cast and company will be tested, with one of the acts, Diversity, working as a bubble.

Panto will be back at the London Palladium in time for Christmas. Oh yes it will! Julian Clary is picture above on stage with Nigel Havers. Clary has starred in four Palladium laugh-a-thons

Panto will be back at the London Palladium in time for Christmas. Oh yes it will! Julian Clary is picture above on stage with Nigel Havers. Clary has starred in four Palladium laugh-a-thons

Clary, who has starred in four Palladium laugh-a-thons, told me he needed 'no persuading' to participate. 

'I'd have done the show in a room above a pub, because as much as it cheers everyone else up, it cheers us up as well,' he said, of himself and the Palladium regulars.

He added that

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