Monday, October 12

Churchill the nodding dog to star in 22 pantos

Pantomime has a long history of hiring TV personalities, but this year the tradition will be stretched to the limit when Churchill, the nodding dog from the insurance adverts, will appear in no less than 22 Christmas shows. The move comes after a recent advert showing Churchill - who has been a commercial mascot for 13 years - winning a fictional role in the West End musical Cats.

He will be paid a fee estimated as "tens of thousands of pounds" to jump out of the genie's lamp in Aladdin, be chased by Jack's giant at the top of the beanstalk and act as a chaperone to Cinderella.

And all this for just uttering the same lines he does in the advert: "oh yes" and "oh no" pre-recorded by the comedian Bob Mortimer. His movements will be performed by a hidden puppeteer.

The deal was has been signed with Qdos entertainment who are presenting Robin Hood starring John Barrowman at Cardiff, Aladdin starring Shane Richie at High Wycombe, Sleeping Beauty with Joe Pasquale and Ray Quinn at the Birmingham Hippodrome and Cinderella with Lesley Joseph at Dartford – all featuring Churchill.

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