Christopher Biggins: Decision to shut down pantomimes ‘disgusting’

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Christopher Biggins has described the decision to halt pantomime productions in London as “disgusting”.

Earlier in December, the Government decided to move London to Tier 3, effectively halting Christmas productions across the capital, and the city has since moved to Tier 4 amid fears over the spread of a new mutant strain of Covid-19.

The London Palladium’s panto production, starring Elaine Paige, Beverley Knight and Diversity, was among the shows cut short by the move. It had been scheduled to continue playing until January 3.

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Biggins, 72, was himself due to appear in a now-postponed production of Jack And The Beanstalk at Dartford’s Orchard Theatre.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: “So many pantomimes have been cancelled this year, including mine. I was going to Dartford.”

The actor, who has been appearing in pantos for the last 44 years, added: “So many people have lost pantomimes recently, including the London Palladium, which was tragic that they lost theirs. They did six performances and then the Government took them off. It was disgusting, just disgraceful. It was a wonderful, wonderful pantomime. I went to see the last performance.

“But just six performances they did, after lots and lots of rehearsing and putting it on. It was so safe, the Palladium, it wasn’t true. All the theatres have been safe. It has been very tragic, the whole thing.”

Barbara Windsor death
Dame Barbara Windsor (Hannah McKay/PA)

Biggins, a close friend of Dame Barbara Windsor, said he expected her funeral to be a different occasion due to Covid-19.

The beloved actress, known for her work in the Carry On films and BBC soap EastEnders, died earlier this month at the age of 83 after suffering from dementia.

Biggins praised her husband, Scott Mitchell, saying: “I hope that, when we die, all of us, that we can see for the next 24 hours the reaction of everybody to our death.

“If she could have seen the reaction to her death she would have been so thrilled. The coverage was unbelievable.

“She was an extraordinary woman and I have to say Scott, her husband, is the most extraordinary man. He is a saint.”

Speaking about Dame Barbara’s funeral, where he is due to give a speech, Biggins added: “It will be very difficult for all of us, especially Scott.

“But, anyway, it is good to say goodbye properly and obviously, next year or sometime in the future, there will be a massive thousands of people invited to a memorial service for Barbara, which will be wonderful.”

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