Drawing: Dawn French

Autographed drawing of Dawn French

Considered one of Britain’s national treasures; comedian, actress, writer and now pantomime Queen, Dawn French at the age of ‘oh-never-mind’ has finally become part of that other British phenomenon, the Christmas Pantomime, making her debut over the festive season in SNOW WHITE at the London Palladium. Dawn played the wicked Queen Dragonella, a hiss-boo baddie. All agreed, The VICAR OF DIBLEY star’s natural, impish comic persona lends itself perfectly to the madcap genre.

Writing about Dawn’s performance in his Telegraph review, Dominic Cavendish said, “She amazes with a fiendish tongue-twister, she bumps and grinds in an inappropriate cougar fashion, lip-synching to pop hits as she tries to hit on the young prince, and she delivers a wonderfully Dibley denouement.”

Dawn signed off after the final show last weekend on Twitter,”It’s been a blast. OH YES IT HAS!” She also signed my sketch at the stage door.

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Drawing: Julian Clary as The Slave of the Ring in Aladdin

Julian Clary

British comedian and writer Julian Clary spent the festive period playing the ‘Slave of the Ring’ in ALADDIN at the Birmingham Hippodrome, before he embarks on his latest UK tour THE JOY OF MINCING.

Julian’s career began as ‘Leo Hull’, a fake keyboardist for a band called “Thinkman’, before taking to the alternative comedy scene as Gillian Pieface and ‘The Joan Collins Fan Club’ with his pet ‘Fanny the Wonder Dog.’ Joan Collins issued a cease and desist order to prevent Julian using her name, but they starred together in the 2010/11 panto DICK WHITTINGHTON at the Birmingham Hippodrome and have since become good friends.

Julian said he feels very comfortable in the world of pantomime, “I like dressing up and wearing lots of make-up”.  He also said he likes forgetting his lines, “It’s good when things go wrong, then I can improvise my way out of the situation.”

I sent this sketch to Julian during the run, which he signed and returned.

Drawing: Verne Troyer

Verne Troyer

He may be one of the smallest men on the planet at 2 foot 8 inches, but he’s one of entertainments biggest names and the nicest celeb you could ever meet. Best known for his role as Mini-Me in the AUSTIN POWERS franchise, Verne is currently playing Lofty the Pirate in the New Wimbledon Theatre’s panto PETER PAN, where he signed my sketch last Saturday.

Sketch: Jerry Hall in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

jerry hall

On of the world’s leading models for five decades with her trademark height and long blonde hair, Jerry Hall took on the role of the Wicked Queen in Richmond Theatre’s traditional festive pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs last year.

“I hope to get a good booing then I know I’ll be doing it right,” said Jerry. Making her panto debut at 58, Jerry said she did it because of her fond memories of going to watch panto with ex-hubby Mick Jagger and their four children.

“Christmas was such a big thing, but now they’re getting older I can do it. Mick and I always had a tradition of taking the children to see the pantomime at Richmond Theatre,” she said. They had a friendly divorce in 1999 and Sir Mick spent Christmas with her and the children. Luckily she got Christmas day off!

Drawing: Linda Gray in Cinderella at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Linda Gray Isn’t that Sue Ellen from Dallas??? Oh, no it isn’t. Oh, yes it is! Well, it is Linda Gray who played JR Ewing’s long-suffering drunken wife in the cult TV series Dallas making her panto debut in Cinderella at London’s New Wimbledon Theatre. Although it’s not Linda’s first appearance on the London stage, it is her first in the British festive tradition. She was encouraged by Patrick Duffy, aka Bobby Ewing, Dallas‘s other surviving star, who played Baron Hardup (Cinderella’s father) in London and told her, “you’ve got to do it!” Linda mixes a touch of the Texan with the familiar fairy tale, playing the stetson-toting, hip flask swigging Fairy Godmother who helps Cinders get to the ball. Her stage credits included the role of Mrs Robinson in The Graduate on both the West End and Broadway stages in the early 2000’s. And here’s a piece of trivia: it’s Linda’s uncredited leg in the iconic 1967 poster for The Graduate film. Her anonymous stocking-clad stem stood in for the film’s star Anne Bancroft at $25 a leg. Cinderella continues at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 11 January 2015.

Drawing: Jo Brand as the Genie in Aladdin at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Jo brand002

Josephine Grace ‘Jo’ Brand is one of the UK’s best comics. The Observer listed her as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. She made her panto debut last month in the New Wimbledon’s production of Aladdin as the Genie of the Ring.

Jo won a BAFTA award for her role as Kim Wilde in the BBC sitcom Getting On, set in a  hospital’s geriatric ward, inspired by her earlier career as a psychiatric nurse. Jo also wrote with other core cast members Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdire winning the Writer’s Guild Award for Best Comedy in 2010.

She describes her genie appearance as “Julian Clary on steroids.”

Drawing: Henry Winkler as Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the Richmond Theatre

the fonz as hook001

How very cool… the Fonz – the coolest of the cool – signed my sketch. Henry Winkler AKA Arthur Fonzarelli from the hit TV series Happy Days is currently performing festive panto Peter Pan at the Richmond Theatre in Surrey.

The Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning actor reprises the role of Captain Hook. He appeared in his first pantomime at the New Wimbledon Theatre in 2005 replacing David Hasselhoff as J. M. Barries’ pirate antagonist.

Drawing: Priscilla Presley

Priscilla Presley001

 

Priscilla Presley made her pantomime debut in London last Christmas, playing the wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I sent this drawing to the theatre and received it back through the mail in January.