Letter: In praise of the pantomime

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The Independent Online
Sir: A word in defence of pantomime producers ("Television soap stars make a pantomime of Christmas", 25 November). Their investment in a production which by its nature can only run for four or five weeks is considerable. To minimise the risks, the sensible thing to do is to headline pantos with at least a couple of "names" with whom the public is familiar. Television drama, with its rapid turnover of ephemeral "stars", is the most obvious well to draw from. Note the real hue and cry when non-actors such as cricketers, boxers and body-builders muscle in on the gate.

I started in pantomime in 1955, before television had taken off. We had no stars . . . which is why most of us got paid pounds 5 per week. In the early Seventies, there was a real risk that pantomime would die out. Fortunately, a new generation of producers has given it the kiss of life. For many youngsters, panto is their first introduction to live entertainment. It's funny, it's healthy and it's often subversive.

BRUCE MONTAGUE

Hove, Sussex

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