Planned production at the Blackpool Grand for summer 2006, but cancelled before it started.
Press Release announcing the show – 16th March 2006
2006 SUMMER SEASON AT THE GRAND THEATRE: THE BEST COMEDY AND VARIETY IN BLACKPOOL
The Grand Theatre, alias the National Theatre of Variety, will present its most varied summer season in 25 years since the theatre reopened. Seven distinct productions will be staged between Monday 12 June and Sunday 29 October.
Duggie Chapman, Blackpool’s leading producer of light entertainment, will present the Grand Theatre Music Hall. There will be two separate productions: led firstly by Bernie Clifton and then Craig Douglas. From Monday 12 to Saturday 24 June the special guest will be Martin Brannigan, with other speciality acts Les Wilson and Tino Navis, From Monday 3 July to Sunday 30 July the special guest will be The Patton Brothers, stars of Chucklevision, and Van Buren and Ally. Both productions will also feature a full supporting cast, including Lizzie Wiggins (the Duchess of Dudley), Beryl Johnson, the Holloways and Ian Adams and Georgina Todd. The music director is Martin St James.
The third attraction will mark a return to summer farce at the Grand. This will be Falkland Carey and Philip King’s BIG BAD MOUSE, starring CANNON & BALL. The show opens on Thursday 3 August and runs until Saturday 28 October (twelve weeks).
Although not specifically written for them, the 1970 romp became famous as a vehicle for the talents of comedy actors Jimmy Edwards and Eric Sykes, transferring to New York in 1973. The Grand Theatre production will be directed and produced by Britain’s top farceur, Paul Elliott, who produced the world première in 1970. Paul will work in association with Qdos.
Tommy Cannon will play Mr. Price-Hargreaves, the role created by Jimmy Edwards. Bobby Ball will play Bloome, the eponymous mouse.
The farce is a great vehicle for Cannon & Ball, and like Jimmy Edwards and Eric Sykes they will ad-lib, addressing the audience throughout the performace. Paul Elliott recalls: “At some point Jimmy Edwards would say to the audience, after another character delivered a line, “That, ladies and gentlemen, is the last remaining line from the original script!”
There are five other actors in Big Bad Mouse: further casting will be announced shortly. The production will be designed by Mark Sherwood.
Grand Theatre manager Paul Iles said: “Big Bad Mouse is the first summer season farce since 1986 when Paul Elliott produced Les Dawson and Eric Sykes in Run for Your Wife. This was so successful that it played an immediate return in 1987, with Danny La Rue and Les Dawson”.
Whereas Big Bad Mouse performs evenings only, The Two O’Clock Show: Blackpool’s Variety Startime will perform Tuesday to Saturday matinees from Tuesday 8 August to Saturday 28 October (twelve weeks). Mr Iles said “For the National Theatre of Variety, it is highly appropriate that we stage a traditional seaside special”. The bill will headline Paul Shane (Hi-De-Hi) and a company of singers and dancers.
Mr Ricky Tomlinson will star in a Right Royle Do! on five consecutive Sundays from 6 August to 3 September. This will be an all-new show, following his Grand debut in Holy Week, on Tuesday 11 April.
Still to be confirmed is the welcome return of The Grumbleweeds, for Mondays from 4 September to 23 October, and Sundays from 10 to 24 September. The Grand awaits news of supporting novelty acts, from producer Qdos.
Mr Ken Dodd, Cultural Legate for Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008, will present his own illuminating evenings of plumptiousness, for five consecutive Sundays, from 1 October to 29 October.
Mr Iles added, “It is exciting to be working towards new formats for summer seasons, and to collaborate with Duggie Chapman, Paul Elliott, Roy Hastings and Nick Thomas, the best producers in seaside theatre.
Press Release announcing the cancellation – 30th March 2006
Producer Qdos pulls Grand Theatre farce
The production of the Grand Theatre’s summer season farce, Big Bad Mouse was cancelled today by producers Qdos Entertainment.
It was scheduled to run from 3 August to 28 October, starring Cannon & Ball.
Mr Ian Wilson, Marketing Director of Qdos said “With hindsight, it was thought by the producers Qdos Entertainment that Big Bad Mouse was unsuitable for a three month run, in the current Blackpool economic climate”.
Grand Theatre manager Paul Iles said, “Qdos have had a long-standing and excellent relationship with the Grand Theatre, staging our previous nineteen summer seasons. We regret that they have decided not to stage a weekly show at Blackpool in 2006. ##
“We are getting on with finding an attractive alternative. Meanwhile, the Duggie Chapman music halls and daytime Variety shows are unaffected”.
Newspaper Article – Blackpool Gazette
‘Last rites’ for seaside resorts
By NICK HYDE, Business Writer
ONE of Blackpool’s leading entertainment figures has issued a chilling warning after claiming 2006 had been the worst summer season in 25 years.
Paul Iles, manager at the Grand Theatre, says this year marked the “last rites of the English seaside resort as we know it”.
Last week The Gazette revealed how The Grand faced a £200,000 loss this financial year.
Mr Iles added this year’s poor season would make Blackpool a “one-night stand town” rather than its traditional image as a resort with season-long shows.
Speaking in The Stage entertainment newspaper, Mr Iles said: “It has been indubitably the worst summer season in the 25 years the Blackpool Grand Theatre Trust has run the venue.
“This marks the last rites of the English seaside resort as we know it. It’s not going to be possible to run a 12 to 13-week summer season from now on.
“It’s a one-night stand for the town in the future.
“The decline has been happening over the last decade, but has been that much steeper this year.”
The venue’s original summer season plans were scuppered after an 11th hour cancellation by Q-dos Entertainments of a proposed 12-week run of the Cannon and Ball farce Big Bad Mouse.
Early season runs of the Music Hall by local producer Duggie Chapman failed to attract large audiences and a later season of matinee shows – featuring Hi-De-Hi star Paul Shane – was dropped after just two weeks.
Mr Chapman said this had been the worst summer season he had experienced and believed the market had dropped by half.
He added casinos arriving in Blackpool may not even be enough to turn the entertainment fortunes of the resort around.
Mr Chapman said: “I think the damage will be done in the next four years, while they’re building it. I don’t think I’ll have a summer show in Blackpool next year.
“You just can’t afford to take the risk. It’s not like it was.”
Blackpool is one of seven towns and cities vying to host the UK’s first and only super casino.
The Government is expected to announce at the end of this year whether its application has been successful.