At The King’s, Glasgow, 14th December 1995 – 3rd February 1996.
Cast and running order
Robin Hood – David Greer
Cannon and Ball – Tommy and Bobby – the robbers
Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball are one of Britain’s funniest and most successful double acts. In a career spanning over 25 years they have achieved a string of honours that puts them among the all-time greats of showbusiness.
On television they have starred in their own series practically every year since 1979; they have also ‘guested’ on all the major shows including Wogan, Parkinson, Des O’Connor, Sunday Night at the Palladium, several Royal Variety Shows, and been featured in a BBC documentary, Funny Business, based on double-acts, which also featured Martin & Lewis, Laurel & Hardy and Morecambe & Wise.
To add to their pedigree, they remain the only act to have won three separate National Club Awards; been named as the prestigious Variety Club ‘Personalities of the Year’, starred in their own featured film The Boys in Blue which, in addition to its cinema success, has gone on to become a video best-seller; and been the subject of This is Your Life.
However, it is as the undisputed Kings of Live Entertainment that Cannon & Ball have set standards that will probably never be equalled.
During the 1970s they built a strong reputation around the UK cabaret club circuit for being a great live act. They also toured extensively in the hotel circuits of Australia and South Africa.
In 1980 they ‘topped the bill’ for the very first time at the North Pier, Blackpool, where they played to capacity business for 22 weeks; a feat they surpassed in 1991 when they returned to the Pier and celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a 25-week sell out-season.
Blackpool is a ‘happy hunting ground’ for the Lancashire-born twosome, who played the 3,000 seat Opera House during the summer of 1994. This was their third season at the theatre, following their enormously successful seasons in 1985 and 1987.
In addition to Blackpool, Tom and Bob have broken records in theatres all over the UK including London. In 1981 they played a six-week season at the Dominion theatre when every seat was sold before the show opened, and in 1988 their pantomime Babes in the Wood broke all previous pantomime records at the world famous London Palladium, where Cannon & Ball created the record for the largest box office amount taken in one week in British Theatre history.
During 1993 they were offered the chance to play a season in the USA, Orlando, Florida was the location. Their three month season was such a success that they were immediately re-booked the following year starring at King Henry’s Feast, Orlando and making several US television appearances where they made an instant impact.
The rest of 1994 was taken up with their summer season in Blackpool, where Tommy worked on his golf handicap and taught Bobby a shot or two, since he has also taken up golf.
Last Christmas they made their Scottish Pantomime debut at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh where they were joined by Edinburgh-born television star, John Leslie in the wonderful traditional family pantomime Babes in the Wood.
1995 has seen them undertake two gospel tours and a further trip to the USA, this time to Branson, Missouri for a number of theatre shows.
Recent TV appearances have included the Des O’Connor Show, Noel Edmond’s House Party, Talking Telephone Numbers, Fully booked and Songs of Praise.
Even after nearly 30 years of making people laugh, Tom and Bob are still enjoying every minute themselves, and are looking forward to carrying on doing it for many years to come.
Jimmy Logan – Nurse Folly
Jimmy Logan is the third son of Music Hall entertainers Jack Short and Mary Dalziel and brother to the jazz singing star Annie Ross. He began working in the theatre at the age of seven selling chocolates and cigarettes in his father’s summer show graduating to principal comedian at the Metropole Theatre, Glasgow at the age of nineteen. In his sixty year career his contribution has spanned every facet of show business including owning and running a theatre for ten yeas. He has appeared in variety and pantomime in all the principal theatres of Scotland, the London Palladium and New York’s Carnegie Hall, coast-to-coast tours of America and Canada and nine Royal Command performances. He has directed over eighteen comedies touring the country, many pantomimes and, through his work with students, is now a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. During the ’80s onwards he received recognition of his ‘straight’ acting performances playing the classic characters of Chekhov, Miller and Osborne among others. He has appeared in both of Bill Bryden’s epic productions (staged at the Harland & Wolff shipyard) – The Ship and The Big Picnic. With numerous television appearances and films ranging from Floodtide (with Gordon Jackson) to Carry On Abroad, it is not surprising that Jimmy is honoured throughout the performing arts. In 1993 he was the recipient of The James Gulliver Award for the Performing Arts in Scotland and in 1994 he was given an honorary doctorate from the Caledonian University. Last Christmas he was starring in pantomime at the Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, a show he also wrote and directed, but he still found time in that hectic schedule to deliver the narration of Peter The Wolf at Scottish Ballet’s 25th Birthday Gala. This year has seen him starring in Laughing Room Only at the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, touring with his one-man show, It’s A Funny Life and recording a full-length Ex-S featuring work which the BBC are transmitting this December.
Grant Stott – Little John
Grant was born and brought up in Edinburgh where he still lives today.
He joined the world of TV and Radio in 1990, and has enjoyed a busy and varied career to date.
His broadcasting career began as a Radio Presenter with Edinburgh Station ‘Max-AM’ and then latterly ‘Forth FM’ where he remained until early this year. Shortly after joining Forth FM he enjoyed a two year run on BBC Radio Scotland’s Check This.
The world of TV broadcast held a special attraction for Grant and as a natural progression he came to present a number of educational programmes for the BBC such as G045, its spin-off G04X, and is currently filming his second series of See You, See Me.
1993 saw Grant break into mainstream children’s TV when he presented the highly successful Sunday morning kids show Weymyss Bay 902101. During this year he also presented Vox Pops on the lunchtime edition of Scotland Today and wrote his own children’s page for The Edinburgh Evening News.
1993 was also the year that Grant made his Pantomime debut here at The King’s, Glasgow in Dick Whittington with Allan Stewart and Christopher Biggins. He followed that up last Christmas with an appearance in Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre where he first played the role of Little John in Babes In The Wood and is delighted to be returning to Glasgow to pull on those large boots once again!
1995 has been Grant’s most successful year to date. He got his National TV break in the form of Fully Booked, BBC Scotland’s BAFTA nominated Saturday Morning Children’s show for BBC1. The show ran for 22 weeks throughout the summer and was re-commissioned for a further 22 weeks in 1996 before it had even finished its first series. He then presented Mega-Mag in October and in November realised a childhood ambition by presenting an episode of Jackanory. In the same month, Grant also presented, for the fourth consecutive time, Children In Need as part of BBC Scotland’s output.
Grant’s interest include collecting Dean Martin records, watching Hibs and eating Chinese Food at every available opportunity!
David Greer – Robin Hood
David was trained by London’s leading voice coach, Ian Adam. He made his professional theatre debut as Joseph in Bill Kenwright’s national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Other national tours include playing Tony in West Side Story, Billy Biggelow in Carousel, Adam in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and Curly in Oklahoma! He has worked in repertory theatre throughout the country with seasons in Bath, Bristol, Colchester, Wimbledon and Belfast. In 1988 he played the role of Dominique in Trevor Nunn’s workshop production of The Baker’s Wife in London. His West End debut came in 1989 when he played the role of Hugo in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love. He then went on to successfully take over the starring role of Alex in the same production. In 1990 he joined the award-winning hit musical Les Miserables as Enjolras. He has toured America and the Caribbean extensively as lead guest vocalist on Celebrity Cruise Lines. His television and radio credits include Taggart, Housemann’s Tales, Radio Clyde’s Christmas Mann Show, Fiona Kennedy Hour, National Lottery Live, City Lights and The Bill. He recently starred in Closer Than Ever at the Cottier Theatre, Glasgow.
So far this year he has appeared in seven charity concerts throughout Britain. In October he had the honour to perform in Cameron Mackintosh’s Ten Year Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables with a star-studied international cast at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
This is David’s second time appearing in pantomime in Glasgow. He starred in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Pavilion Theatre in 1988 and he is thrilled to be at the King’s Theatre this year. David lives with his wife and two year old son in London.
Vivienne Carlyle – Maid Marion
Glasgow girl, Vivienne is delighted to be given the opportunity to make her professional theatre debut at the King’s.
Although just 23 years old, she has held a long association with the stage, particularly in relation to this theatre, ably assuming a number of leading roles, including Florence in Chess, Maria in West Side Story and most recently Nancy in Oliver!
In addition, Vivienne, an accomplished pianist, is vocally trained by the renowned Peter Wilson and has managed to fit these commitments around her now completed studies for her BA Degree in Community Arts.
Professional recognition of her standard of public performance has been rewarded by being guest support at concerts by Michael Bolton and Dina Carroll, respectively.
Jim Byars – Friar Tuck
Jim was born in Glasgow and trained at RSAMD and has worked extensively throughout Britain in theatre and television.
His theatre work includes the original Slab Boys, where he created the part of Spanky, at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and The Royal Court, London. Two seasons at the Byre Theatre, St. Andrews followed and among other plays, Jim played the part of the husband in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park with other productions including: Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh; What The Butler Saw and several pantomimes at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow. Other pantomimes include The Sheriff of Nottingham in Babes In The Wood; The Emperor of China in Aladdin with Gerard Kelly at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh (and Glasgow) and A Christmas Carol with Wildcat Theatre Company. He has also worked with Perth Repertory Theatre; Cumbernauld Theatre; Fablevision; Annexe Theatre Company; Unit One Theatre Company; Fifth Estate Theatre Co. (in The Last of the Lairds) and last year he appeared in Borderline Theatre Company’s highly successful tour of The Odd Couple. This year Jim appeared at the Citizens’ Theatre in Persons Unknown and he has just finished a tour of The Salt Wound with 7:84 Theatre Company.
Jim’s television work includes – for BBC: Kessler; The Borgias; Cloud Howe; Just A Boy’s Game; Rab C. Nesbitt; Down Among The Big Boys and Para Handy and for ITV: Take The High Road; A Sense of Freedom; Michael Winner’s True Crimes; The Good Guys and Doctor Finlay.
Gordon Kane – Cedric the Sheriffs Henchman
After creating the role of Andy in the premiere of John Godber’s new play Passion Killers last year, Gordon has completed a number one Tour of the play, this time playing the role of Tom. He also played Chris Baxter in On The Piste at Hull Truck and appeared in the Peter Hall production of Lysistrata in London and in Greece. He did a season at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, finishing with Alan Ayckbourn’s production of Love Off The Shelf. Other theatre credits include Robin Hood & The Babes in The Wood (with Russ Abbott) in Bradford; Macbeth for the Ludlow Festival; and number one tour of Lend Me A Tenor, Having A Ball, Accidental Death Of An Anarchist and The Caretaker all in Salisbury. Gordon has also appeared in repertory seasons at Derby, Salisbury, Basingstoke, Chesterfield, Edinburgh, Perth, Leicester and Newbury and has toured with The National Theatre and The New Vic Company.
Gordon’s many TV credits include, Taggart, Dodger, Bonzo & The Rest, Gentlemen & Players, Hannay A Sleeping Life, The Bill and Danger UXB.
Charles Kearney – Sheriff
Born in Glasgow, Charles Kearney was a Bridie Memorial Medal winner at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama in Nineteen-‘canteen’. Described by the critic, W. Gordon Smith, as “one of the most accomplished character actors in the land…”, Charles returns to The King’s, for his fifth King’s panto, direct from the amazingly successful Please Stay, at the Pavilion, in which he played five different characters, including Danny Dangerfield – The Panther of Pop! and the hilarious Mrs Forsyth. A ‘weel kent’ television ‘face’, he is looking forward to working with the great Jimmy Logan, with whom he has never had the pleasure, and with Bobby Cannon and Tommy Whatsit, with whom he has!! You will understand when you see the show why he says the experience is ‘a Masochist’s dream’!!. At the end of Babes, Charles goes off to the United States on tour with his ‘one-man’ show The Importance of Being Oscar.
Alan Cohen – Writer
Alan trained at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Before that he attended Drumchapel Primary School and Knightswood Secondary School. His last visit to the King’s Theatre was in 1967 when he played Enoch Snow Jr. in an amateur production of Carousel. After completing his course at the RSAMD in 1974 he moved to London to pursue his career in theatre, becoming a director at the National Theatre in 1982. Productions at the National Theatre include: The Pied Piper, which he also devised, Animal Farm, adapted by Peter Hall and Macbeth. As Associate Director: The Tempest, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and Antony and Cleopatra with Anthony Hopkins and Judy Dench. As a Staff Director: Inner Voices with Ralph Richardson and Robert Stephens, Coming Into Land with Maggie Smith, Coriolanus with Ian McKellen, You Can’t Take It With You with Jimmy Jewel and Geraldine McKewen, Lorenzaccio with Michael Bryant and The Petition with John Mills and Rosemary Harris.
As a director of the Ludlow Festival: Macbeth with David Rintoul and Haydn Gwynne, As You Like It with John Gordon Sinclair, Sylvester McCoy and Victoria Wicks and Othello.
Freelance work includes: The Pied Piper (Tel Aviv), Peter Pan and The Three Musketeers by Willis Hall (Crucible, Sheffield), Lettice and Lovage with Rosemary Leach (British Tour), Butterflies Are Free (Miami), The Three Musketeers, A Tale of Two Cities and Dracula (New Vic Theatre Co. tours Britain and USA), National Opera Studio Showcase Production (Royal Festival Hall), Cinderella (Cork Opera House), Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Glasgow), Dracula (Lyric, Belfast), The Party’s Over by Alan Bleasdale (Royal Theatre, Northampton), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (U.S. tour). Much of Alan’s work has toured abroad, including : The Moscow Art Theatre, Tokyo, Edidaurus in Greece, and the prestigious Theatre of Nations Festival in Baltimore. He has also worked in Helsinki, Vienna, Madrid and Vancouver.
Formerly Artistic Director of Wearabout Theatre Company and Associate Director : with Michael Bogdanov of the Phoenix Theatre, Leicester, Alan is currently an Education Policy Advisor and Workshop Leader for the English Shakespeare Company and Director of the New Vic Theatre. He has also written and directed corporate videos.
Future work includes Lucky Stiff, a hit Broadway musical being done for the first time in Britain, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, opening in Los Angeles; The Browning Version by Terence Rattigan, for a British tour, The Sins of the Mothers, a new play by David Pinner and a political ecological thriller Alan is developing and co-writing for the BBC. This is the first time Alan has worked professionally in Scotland, and he is thrilled to be back home.
Alex Craig – Choreographer
1995 has been a very busy year for Alex. After staging and choreographing last year’s highly successful productions of Babes in the Wood with Cannon and Ball at The King’s, Edinburgh and The MacRobert Arts Centre’s production of Aladdin, Alex has choreographed The Star music revue at Blackpool’s famous Pleasure Beach, The Magical Experience Stow for Frontierland in Morecambe, also a celebration of youth dance called Best Foot Forward for Lothian Region Council.
He has also been busy lecturing in Dance at Edinburgh’s Telford College, teaching dance students at The Theatre School of Dance in Edinburgh and guesting at Scottish Ballet’s DSOS. This Christmas he is over the moon and very grateful to the respective managements and producers for giving him the unique opportunity to choreograph both Cinderella at The King’s Theatre in Edinburgh and Babes in the Wood at The King’s Theatre in Glasgow. Alex originally trained in Drama, graduating from Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret College in 1981. He then took further training with the Victor Upshaw Company in Paris and in 1991 was able to further his skills by taking part on an intensive dance course at The Alvin Alley American Dance Centre in New York. His first professional position was as a Dance Workshop presenter with Scottish Ballet, moving on to dance for TV choreographers such as Brian Rogers amongst many others in pantomime, summer season, cabaret and TV. In recent years he has worked all over the UK pioneering community dance projects and in 1991 founded the National Youth Jazz Dance Festival. His choreography credits include Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Aladdin for The MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling, Glass for West Lothian Youth Theatre, The King is Dead for The Lothian Schools Jazz Dance Co. in last year’s Edinburgh Festival, The Karen Casey Show 94 at Blackpool Beach, Broadway Show 94, The Pavillion, Pleasureland, Southport, The Rock Star Shows 94 and 95 in Blackpool as well as his King’s Panto Credits. Alex is absolutely thrilled to be choreographing this production.
Rick Coates – Musical Director
During a varied career Rick has been privileged enough to work with a whole host of household names including Freddie Starr, Cannon and Ball, Norman Wisdom, Jim Davidson, The Nolans, The Krankies, Tony Christie, Marti Caine, Little and Large, The Grumbleweeds, Duncan Norvelle, Tommy Steele and singer-songwriter Gerard Kenny. His work has also included writing incidental music for radio and television and spells in the musical theatre on Les Miserables and Cats. Since 1993 Rick has had the opportunity to assist Cannon and Ball in exporting their unique brand of comedy to the United States including engagements in Florida, Missouri and on tour. Rick has been Musical Director on many pantomimes, the recent Granada TV series Live From the Lillydrome and last season at the Blackpool Opera House to direct the Bernard Delfont Gala Tribute. Rick is a keen golfer and tennis player and likes to spend his spare time watching his local football team “Wren” Rovers. He is delighted to be working for the first time at the King’s Theatre Glasgow.
Denis Agnew – Fight Director
Trained as an actor at RSAMD and has worked extensively in Theatre, T.V., Film, as both actor and fight director.
Theatre: Royal Lyceum, Traverse, Perth Rep, Scottish Theatre Co. Gaiety Theatre Ayr, Borderline, Glasgow Citizens, Tron Theatre, Theatre Workshop, Scottish Ballet, Royal Court, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Liverpool Playhouse, East 15 Theatre Co. York, Kings Edinburgh, Kings Glasgow, Bristol Old Vic. TV: Over 40 productions for BBC, STV, HTV, CBC, including Taggart, Sutherlands Law, The Omega Factor, Maggie, The Master of Innocents, Seaview, A Man for all Seasons, The Soul’s Dark Night, Ruffian Hearts.
Films: Include Hit, Frankenstein Revisited, Concern, Simple Life. Teaching: Bristol Old Vic Theatre, School, Scottish Ballet Education Unit, Dance School of Scotland, Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow University, Queen Margaret College, Physical Theatre and Class Action Workshops for schools and youth theatres in most parts of the country.
Bobbi Burden – Assistant to the Choreographer
Bobbi hails from Cambuslang and trained at the Dorothy Kemp School of Dancing. Since beginning her career she has worked all over the UK in cabaret and seasons with Joe Longthorne, Lenny Henry, Marti Caine, Hale and Pace, Dame Edna, Jim Davidson, Leslie Crowther, Freddy Starr, Roy Walker, Little and Large, Russ Abbot, Danny La Rue, Dana, The Krankies, Andy Cameron, Johnny Beattie, Jimmy Logan, Jack Milroy, Allan Stewart, Cilia Black, Noel Edmonds and Wayne Sleep. As well as working in the UK, Bobbi has cruised all over the world and has done TV shows in Egypt, Zimbabwe, Germany and The Children’s Royal Variety Show in London. Other TV appearances include Taggart, Naked Video, Rab C. Nesbit, Boon and The Upper Hand. One of the highlights of her career was meeting Princess Diana at the London Palladium while appearing in The Birthright Variety Charity Show. When not in theatre you’ll find Bobbi challenging the locals on the nearest golf course!
After having worked with Cannon and Ball in three previous seasons, including Babes in the Wood at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton, and last year at the King’s Theatre Edinburgh, Bobbi is now looking forward to working with them here in Glasgow this year.
Stuart Littlewood – Producer
Stuart Littlewood is the joint Managing Director of International Artistes and, together with partners Laurie Mansfield and Bob Voice, they operate one of the most successful entertainment companies in the United Kingdom. The company is responsible for the management of many leading television stars and regularly produces pantomimes, summer shows and one-night concert tours.
International Artistes devised and co-produced the musical Buddy, which has now been running in London for nearly seven years. A touring version regularly tours the UK, and there are touring companies in the USA, Australia, South Africa and Germany. International Artistes have also co-produced the new smash hit Jolson, which recently opened in the West End to rave reviews.
Stuart divides his time between his offices in Manchester and London, his wife, Sheila, his four children aged between 15 and 25, and the occasional game of golf. He admits to “getting a kick” out of pantomime, is extremely optimistic about its future as family entertainment and hopes you will get as much fun watching the show as he had in producing it.
Sunday Post, December 24th 1995
Just a chat with a stranger, but lifes so different now for Cannon and Ball
If theres one thing Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball refuse to do it’s spend Christmas away from home – which is why they’ll be heading south tonight, writes Rob Scott.
“I simply have to get home on Christmas Eve,” says Bobby, “even though I don’t get there till five in the morning,
“One year I drove from panto in Aberdeen all the way to London.”
Tommy agrees. “I once had a flat in Edinburgh over Christmas,” he says. “I put up a little tree and lights but it just wasn’t the same.”
The duo, appearing in Babes In The Wood at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow, are most definitely family men.
Bobby’s wife Yvonne is in Glasgow for the eight-week run, and Tommy made sure he had two months free before it started, which he spent with wife Hazel, Kelly (5) and Zoe (2).
“It’s important for a child to have both a mum and dad at their age,” says Tommy. “It was brilliant reading stories and putting them to bed every night.
“There were a few tears on both sides when I told Kelly I was leaving for Glasgow, but my wife phoned me a couple of hours later to say she’d forgotten all about it!”
Family life wasn’t always so happy for Cannon and Ball.
“I used to be a womanising, one-and-a-half bottles of whisky a day man,” admits Bobby. “I made my wife ill with worry.
“Then I had a conversation with a Christian guy one day who said he had the answer to my problem – he told me to take it to God.
“I forced myself to do just that and I’ve had a relationship with God for nine years now.
“I could see the difference in Bobby immediately,” says Tommy. “He had a certain peace about him.”
A few years later Tommy and Hazel committed themselves to God as well.
“We still like to have a laugh and a drink at Christmas – in our business there’s plenty of opportunity for it. But we do normally have a little prayer together before we go on stage now.”