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A COUPLE of CINDERS

Hello boys and girls! Did you know that the stars of Doctor Who appeared in pantomime back in the 1980s? Oh yes they did!
A ticket for the opening night of the 1982 production of Cinderella in Tunbridge Wells. Picture courtesy of Stephen Broome.
The programme for the pantomime. Picture courtesy of David Dovey.
An article about the new production from local newspaper The Courier, published on 5 November 1982.

On Saturday 5 January 1985 I was in the audience for the matinée of Cinderella at the Gaumont Theatre, Southampton. It was billed as a “Doctor Who pantomime” and Colin Baker’s arrival on stage was met with a huge cheer. He was playing Buttons and threw chocolate buttons (and eggs!) into the audience. I remember the hilarious ‘mistake’ when Anthony Ainley – playing Baron Hardup here but better known as the Master on TV – referred to Buttons as “Doctor”. After that, bad traffic on the way home meant I missed Part One of Attack of the Cybermen. It was an emotional day.

This Cinderella was written and directed by Doctor Who’s then producer, John Nathan-Turner, who had a long interest in pantomime. According to Richard Marson’s 2013 biography, young John was taken to the panto every Boxing Day and at school put on a show of his own called Cinder’s Fella. His first full job in the theatre was on a production of Puss in Boots starring Des O’Connor. While working on the BBC drama The Pallisers, John also wrote and directed a version of Cinderella for charity. The single performance took place at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on 16 December 1973 and starred Judi Dench, Richard Briers and Penelope Wilton, with a cameo by Peter O’Toole. John had apparently loitered in the canteen of the BBC’s Rehearsal Rooms to cajole stars into joining the show. Yet the idea for a

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About Doctor Who Magazine

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEWS OF THE NEW SERIES OF DOCTOR WHO! Highlights of this issue include: • An exclusive interview with showrunner Chris Chibnall, plus his latest Production Notes. • The directors of Series 12 speak exclusively to DWM. • Exclusive previews of the first two new-series episodes: Spyfall Parts One and Two. • Tosin Cole answers questions from the TARDIS Tin. • An Advent in Space and Time: six decades worth of festive Doctor Who TV and radio highlights. • DWM revisits the ‘Doctor Who pantomimes’ of the 1980s. • The final part of a candid interview with former script editor Andrew Cartmel. • Broadcaster Ian Collins recalls playing a Haemovore in 1989’s The Curse of Fenric. • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2012 Christmas Special The Snowmen. • Doctor Who Magazine’s annual Christmas Quiz. • Part Four of Mistress of Chaos, a new comic-strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends. • An exclusive preview of the Season 26 Blu-ray box set. • Audio and book reviews, previews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!