Ted was producer, and remembers the younger girls singing “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. A script from Ron Hall was used, the first of four from him.
This seems to be the first year which was filmed, or at least the first where we can find a video.
Andy Granger remembers someone building a bubble-making machine. (Or maybe two, according to Joan Carr). It was made out of odd bits and pieces, and contained a tank of washing-up liquid and a fan to blow the bubbles. And it worked! In no time, there were large soapy bubbles popping everywhere. Two unforeseen problems then became apparent: firstly, the popped bubbles formed a soapy haze in the air which got into the actors’ eyes so they couldn’t see, and secondly all the soap ended up on the stage, turning it into a slimy, slippery mess.
Irene the Horse seems to have been so named because the actors inside were both Irenes – Stevenson and Bennett. The programme doesn’t tell us which was back and which was front, though. The horse apparently did a tap dance to the Steptoe theme song
There’s a memorable scene on board ship, when Joan Ritchie goes to the rail “to see Baghdad disappearing over the horizon”, whereupon she gets a bucket of water in the face. She persuades Ken, “you must see Baghdad…” and he gets a bucketful too. Together, they persuade Roy Ritchie to look. They turn away giggling, but Roy actually gets a mermaid instead (Linda Ellis). This panto seems to be the one where Roy introduced his “dozy sidekick” character. On the last night, as a joke, Roy pretended to drop his mermaid
Later, Joan Ritchie teaches Ken to speak the island language: Heater … me-inda … face-wee … arcus … tard-pie, which spoken quickly is “Hit me in the face with a custard pie”, which Joan R does! Ken tries the trick it on Roy, but predictably it goes wrong, and Ken gets the pie again
During the “Saints go marching in”, Ken gets to play a solo on the washboard. Derek Guyler used to do this regularly on TV, and Ken seems every bit as good.
Joan Carr remember getting the part of Princess Jasmin because someone fell pregnant (oh dear, what a shame!), and that Kath Ivermee basically made all the costumes. Less obviously, she remembers a ball in a flower pot, wth tights around the ball (like a skull cap). Then long strips of yellow crepe paper and sequins (don’t ask why, I’m just writing this down!). Apparently a lot of the costumes came from an Indian fabric shop in Fir Vale in Sheffield called Dappit.