Tuesday, November 13

Sheridan Smith in ITV Drama Panto! Over Christmas

Updated 4th December: Panto! to be aired on ITV1 On 27th December at 9:00 pm.

West End star Sheridan Smith has been tweeting that she is starting rehearsals for a new comedy to be shown over Christmas, and ITV1 coincidentally have just announced  the commissioning of festive comedy drama Panto!

Co-written by John Bishop and Jonathan Harvey (Coronation Street, Beautiful People), Panto! stars Bishop and Sheridan Smith in the lead roles. John is playing Lewis Loud who is a cheeky local DJ from Morecambe FM making his panto debut in the Grand Theatre Lancaster's seasonal show Dick Whittington. During rehearsals he falls for TV celebrity Tamsin who is played by Sheridan.

In August Sheridan appeared with John Bishop in BBC1’s hard-hitting drama Accused. She has also recently appreared in Mrs Biggs and just finished playing Hedda Gabler at the Old Vic.One of her tweets over the weekend showed her with blonde hair extensions, a fake tan and nail extensions for the new role!

Other lead players are Samantha Spiro (Grandma’s House, Cor Blimey!), Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, Early Doors, soon to play larger than life Edna Turnblad in the tour of Hairspray) and 1990s pop star Chesney Hawkes also have major roles. Daniel Bishop, Kaye Wragg, Michael Cochrane and Ami Metcalf complete the cast.

John Bishop said: “In 2006 I left my job – that Christmas I appeared in a local panto. It was there I fell in love with that world and came up with the idea of a comedy drama, which has now evolved into Panto! To be making this six years later for ITV1 is really very exciting. The script I’ve written with Jonathan Harvey is something I’m immensely proud of, and the cast are all brilliant – and we’ve even got Chesney Hawkes! What more could anyone wish for this Christmas.”

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