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Pantomime is usually for the Theatre, but occasionally some productions are either filmed specifically for Live Action TV, or Theatrical Productions are recorded so that the general populace can enjoy them.
ITV is no exception. Just before the Turn of the Millennium they decided to record a production of "Jack and the Beanstalk" written by Simon Nye, the writer behind Men Behaving Badly. It did very well in the ratings, and three more production were recorded, the last in 2002. ITV now shows the repeats as a regular feature over the festive period.
The productions, listed by year of broadcast, are as follows:
- "Jack and the Beanstalk" 25th December 1999
- "Cinderella" 2nd January 2000
- "Aladdin" 25th December 2000
- "Dick Whittington" 1st January 2002
Jack & the Beanstalk
- Abhorrent Admirer: Dame Dolly is this to Baron Wasteland
- Actor Allusion: At one point, Jack stomps off in a huff, saying he'll eventually be in his own place, where he'll sit around in his pants drinking beer. Bear in mind Jack is played by Neil Morrissey, in a panto written by Simon Nye.
- Alliteration: Dame Dolly and "the golden hen what lays golden heggs".
- Aren't You Forgetting Someone?: Jack never did rescue Tim...
- Audience Participation Song: Invoked by Dame Dolly because, in her own words "we have to fill in the next ten minutes while they change the scenery around".
- Authority in Name Only: Just what is Dolly a Dame of?
- Broke Episode: The whole panto is this for Jack and Dolly, which is worrying as they have Baron Wasteland for a Cranky Landlord.
- Disappeared Dad / Missing Mom: Jack has the former, Jill the latter. Jack's father died in childbirth whilst Jill's just isn't mentioned.
Jack: I keep a photo of him, just to remind me what he look like...
- Fiction 500: The Baron and Jill are this, and Dame Dolly and Jack soon join them.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: Jack sure is keen on making Jill go up that hill with him...
- And Goldilocks is back to her usual house-breaking tricks...
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Typical for a panto, but in the aforementioned Audience Participation Song they really go for some Refuge in Audacity
- The Fool: Jack, just... Jack. He really puts the "Idiot" in Idiot Plot.
- It's implied he's more a Cloudcuckoolander.
- Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die: The song in which the villagers sing about how incredibly brave Jack is to climb the beanstalk, while his own lines shift from a declaration that he's going to climb it to excuses as to why he isn't.
- Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: Goldilocks talks in this.
- Heel Face Turn: The Baron's a heartless jerk, but he gets better as the panto goes on
- Inept Fairy Godmother: She really does need to read the instructions for that wand...
- Interactive Narrator: Paul Merton. He's so interactive, he has to pad things out when the cast's not quite ready.
- The Fairy Godmother tries to be this, but Merton's already given most of the narration when she arrives.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Baron Wasteland?!
- No Endor Holocaust: The beanstalk crushed the Baron's castle when it fell... good everyone was outside, playing with a ball!
- Pair the Spares: The Baron and Dame Dolly. Well, anything's better than living in Letchworth...
- Wait a minute... if Jack and Jill get married, and their respective parents get married too, wouldn't that make them step-siblings?
- Pantomime Animal: The cow, Pat.
- Platonic Life Partners: Tim and the giant appear to be this
- Running Gag: How did the golden hen change size when Jack went down the beanstalk?
- Shout-Out: Aside from the usual Actor Allusion, there are a few to the Ferrero Rocher ads, for some reason...
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Jack and Jill are this. Jill wants to Marry for Love, but the Baron doesn't want his daughter married to a clot, especially one as poor as Jack.
- The Un-Reveal: The giant is only seen from the ankle down, mostly to avoid Special Effects Failure
- What the Hell, Hero?: Jack's getting kinda ticked at everyone mocking his magic beans, and the dumb schmuck takes it out on Jill. It was an Out-of-Character Moment, and they patch things up afterwards, but still...
- Androcles' Lion: In one scene, Cinders helps out the Good Fairy (who's in disguise). That apparently is what convinces him to help her.
- Bad Impressionists: Buttons is one.
- Burning with Anger: The Wicked Stepmother experiences this when she realises Cinderella was the one who kissed the prince.
- Camp: Dandini, just... Dandini.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Buttons, the poor schmuck...
- Childhood Friends: Buttons and Cinderella are this. Once, they were picking apples, and Buttons made sure she didn't fall...
- Content Warnings: Right before the Good Fairy works his magic, he warns:
There will be a few flashes, so anybody with a pacemaker may want to nip to the loo...
- The Eeyore: Prince Charming is this for most of Act 1.
- Fanfare: Buttons does a lot of this, at point doing "La Cucaracha".
- Freudian Excuse: The Wicked Stepmother hates Cinderella,, because she (Cinderella) resembles her (still Cinderella's) mother, the first wife of the man who married the aforementioned Wicked Stepmother. She hates everyone else because... well, she's just a right cow.
- Friend to All Living Things: Cinderella is this... except to spiders.
- Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: The Good Fairy talks in this, but only for casting spells and exiting the stage.
- Hangover Sensitivity: The Ugly Sisters suffered from this in Act 2. Buttons takes full advantage of this.
- I Was Quite a Looker: The Wicked Stepmother was this... briefly... from the back.
- Informed Attractiveness: The Ugly Sisters inform everyone else of theirs in "(I've Got) Class".
- Leitmotif: The Wicked Stepmother gets one, as a prompt for the audience to boo and hiss. Granted, the audience gets covered in spit...
- Love At First Sight: Prince Charming and Cinderella experience this.
- Never Do That Again: Prince Charming really, really doesn't want Dandini to slap his thigh again. Ever.
- Non-Identical Twins: The Ugly Sisters, in spite of what they say...
- Padding: The Ugly Sisters indulge in some Slapstick, followed with a Don't Try This At Home
- Pair the Spares: Buttons may not get Cinders, but he will have a deep and meaningful relationship with... a horse.
- Parental Abandonment: Cinderella. Her mother was eaten by a bear and her father died soon after remarrying.
- Prince Incognito: Prince Charming does this, just to see what it's like to be normal
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Dandini lapses into this quite a bit...
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Cinderella believes she's this... whether she actually is depends entirely on how charitable you feel.
- What The Hell, Buttons?: Buttons recommends killing Cinderella's stepmother and feeding her to the wolves. The audience was supposed to act with horror to this...
- Acting Unnatural: Abernazer does this when he tries to mingle with the crowd, even going "Mingle, mingle, mingle".
- Actor Allusion:
- The Cameo: S Club 7 show up to sing one of their songs.
- Don't forget Leslie Phillips!
- Or Trisha!
- Don't forget Leslie Phillips!
- Chase Scene: Aladdin and the cops get into one of these when he talks to a princess without a license. They do stop half-way through for a breather...
- Don't Try This At Home: The Princess tells Abernazer she'd rather stick pins in her eyes than marry him. Both of them then tell the audience they really shouldn't do that.
- Dreadful Musician: Quite literally; if you have a love song, it helps to have at least one of your main leads can hold a tune...
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Princess' name isn't actually mentioned, a fact that Aladdin Lampshades a few times.
- Going Commando: Abernazer, apparently.
- That proves to be his undoing...
- History Marches On: Out of the suitable princes for the princess, two are Prince Charlie and Prince Tony.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: The Princess.
- Inept Genie In A Ring: He can magic up an omelette...
- Insistent Terminology: It's "Abernazer", not "a banana"!
- Love At First Sight: Aladdin and the Princess
- Padding: The two genies make a cake and, well...
- Police Brutality: The Police Chief really, really wants to rough up... well, anyone, really.
- Punny Name:
- Refuge in Audacity: Quite a few moments...
Abernazer: This? It's my magic ring. You rub it, and magic happens!
- And... well, anything the Genie of The Lamp says, really.
- The Unfavourite: Wishee-Washee. It's doesn't help he's a Cloudcuckoolander
- What Happened to the Mouse?: When Aladdin, his family and the Emperor show up, they mention how they got there by Hertz Carpets... in spite of the fact that Aladdin still had the magic ring.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Aladdin tries the old Open Sesame trick. When that doesn't work, he turns to the audience and says "Wrong panto!"
- You Fool!: Abernazer says this when the Princess hands him Aladdin's lamp.