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Christmas 2008
 

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- Pantomime Scene 1

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- Pantomime Scene 2

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- Pantomime Scene 3

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- Pantomime Scene 4

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- Pantomime Scene 5

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- Pantomime Scene 6

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- Pantomime Scene 7

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- Pantomime Scene 8

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- Pantomime Scene 9

Dick Whittington and his Cat

Welcome to the BBC Learning English pantomime! Pantomimes are comic plays, popular in the UK at Christmas time. Scroll down this page to read more about the tradition of pantomime theatre.

You can download the whole of our play here, or work through it scene by scene by clicking the links on the left. You will find comprehension questions and language information for each of the episodes.

Cast List

Narrator, Commentator ........................... Callum Robertson
Dick Whittington (principal boy)................ Jackie Dalton
Apple ....................................................... William Kremer
Franky Banky ........................................... Neil Edgeller
Tigger ....................................................... Amber Barnfather
Zappo the Wonder Horse (Top Half) ........ Nuala O'Sullivan
Zappo the Wonder Horse (Bottom Half) .. Dima Kostenko
Rats 1 - 30 ............................................... Catherine Chapman
Snow White ............................................. Elena Newton
Sylvania Fulbright (the dame) .................. Paul Scott

You can find out more about the team here.

Callum Robertson and Neil EdgellerNuala O'Sullivan, Amber Barnfather and Dima Kostenko
Callum Robertson and Neil Edgeller Nuala O'Sullivan, Amber Barnfather and Dima Kostenko

Background

What is a pantomime?
A pantomime is a traditional comic play that theatres in Britain put on throughout the Christmas season. The stories are usually based on fairy tales such as Cinderella, Aladdin, Dick Whittington, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk and Sleeping Beauty. However, there is no single script that all productions use, and theatres sometimes change the stories.

Pantomimes are very popular with children, but the script is usually written with some innuendos – words with a double meaning that adults will find funny. Pantomimes also usually feature the following:

  • A principal boy – a young woman, who takes the hero’s part
  • A pantomime dame – A man who plays an older woman
  • A pantomime horse – Two actors in a horse costume (one in the front two legs, one in the rear)
  • Audience participation. The audience boo the villain (they make the noise ‘Boooo!’ to show they don’t like him) and warn the hero when the villain is nearby by saying ‘He’s behind you!’ They also sometimes argue with the actors by saying ‘Oh yes it is!’ or ‘Oh no it isn’t!’
  • The actors sometimes throw sweets to the audience or spray them with water

Note that in the U.S.A. pantomime usually refers to mime – acting without using speech.

Who was Dick Whittington?
Richard Whittington was a real man who was elected Lord Mayor of London three times between 1398 and 1419. During his lifetime and afterwards, he was known for his moral character and his works of charity.

The popular stories about Dick Whittington began to appear shortly after 1600. Unlike the real Richard Whittington, the fictional character was poor and had a cat that helped him earn his fortune in London. In some stories, Dick's cat is an expert mouser (very good at catching mice) and he sells him for a great deal of money.

Read more about Richard Whittington

Is there still a Mayor of London?
Yes - in fact, there are two! The City of London (the business district of London) still has a Lord Mayor who is chair of local governing bodies and also works to promote London business. However, he is not to be confused with the Mayor of London, who is an elected, political figure with far-reaching powers across the whole of London.

The Lord Mayor of London's website *
The Mayor of London's website *

* Note that the BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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