James Bond and other pantos, 1987-1995

James Bond the panto | Photo by Mark Power, from the Zap archive
James Bond the panto
Photo by Mark Power, from the Zap archive

The Zap Club commissioned and staged an alternative Christmas panto every year. Famous performers lined up to take part and shows were vastly popular with audiences. A notable highlight was the staging, in December 1987, of James Bond – Licenced to look ill’, starring John Dowie and written by Pete McCarthy and Tony Haase of Cliffhanger Theatre. Some of the most well-received of these Zap Club pantomimes were able to capitalise on their Brighton successes, going on to perform elsewhere in the country in the following new years.

Remember this? Remember similar events in Brighton and Hove around the same time? We want to hear from you. Use the Add a Comment link below or contact cora@mybrightonandhove.org.uk with photos or information.

Comments about this page

  • I was in Hamlet the Panto.

    By sanguineman (30/01/2007)
  • I wrote Hamlet the Panto.

    By Raoul De Bontemps (02/02/2007)
  • I recall the pantos starting in 1985, though I think the early ones were sort of by/for staff and friends. I think one was Aladdin-related and another something to do with Sherlock Holmes.

    By Roy (22/02/2007)
  • I’ve been looking into Zap pantos and Roy is quite right that they were started as a bit of fun for staff and friends. The first, in 1985, was ‘Aladdin: A Pantomime Soap Opera’ that took a satirical look at TV soap operas, arts funding bodies and the tradition of pantomime itself. It was scripted by Evening Argus journalist Tim Curran and starred J.J. Waller (alternating performances with Peter McCarthy) and Nick Dwyer of Pookiesnackenburger. The second in 1986 was a Sherlock Holmes mystery directed by J.J. Waller entitled, ‘The Santa Claus Killings’. This was followed in 1987 by ‘James Bond the Panto’. Subsequent years yielded – 1988: ‘The Last Temptation of Scrooge!’ – a musical adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ directed by Andy Cunningham. 1989: ‘Hamlet the Panto’ – directed by J.J. Waller (written by Raoul and starring sanguineman). 1990: ‘What’s up Doctor Jekyll?’ directed by John Dowie. 1991: ‘Brighton Rocks the Panto’ – sex, violence, religion and gorgeous frocks! 1992: ?? 1993: ‘Reservoir Dicks’ – a combination of Dick Whittington and Reservoir Dogs. 1994: ‘Frankenstein’s Femme Fatale’ – directed by Doug and Jo Jo. 1995: ‘It ain’t half campMum’. As you can see from this list, I cannot find any reference to a pantomime in 1992. Does anyone remember a Zap panto in this year? Also, does anyone have any recollection of Zap pantos in 1996 or 1997?

    By Stella Cardus (08/03/2007)
  • Raoul: Have you got a video of Hamlet?  There was one knocking about – I believe. Macbeth or Caudios might have it – I’d like to show it to my kids….
    any ideas?  I thank you.

    By sanguineman (24/04/2007)

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