THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A DAME!
Over the course of my career I have photographed many, many pantomimes. In fact one year I worked on no less than 11 in one short season. Of course those of us in the UK know what a pantomime is but somehow it has escaped the attention of our American cousins over the years. I was once talking to an American producer about how I felt that it was so important that a child’s first experience of theatre was a great one and should almost be magical. I followed on by saying that is why I thought that pantomimes were so vital. He then asked me “What is a pantomime?”. I tried to explain by stating that the lead female was often a princess and played by a young actress whilst the principal boy was played by a woman and in the end they always finished up falling in love. A man always played the mother and in one story, Cinderella, there are two sisters, both played by men with accentuated bosoms and bottoms! As I explained this he looked more and more shocked and finally said “Are you sure this is for kids????”
Anyway, I have photographed some great stars in the role of dame over the years and this picture is of one such television star. But who is he? All I will say is that he was part of a long running much loved television comedy series which, although originally broadcast in the 1980s is still repeated today.
Well, The answer is Barry Howard from 'Hi Dee Hi' in which he played Barry Stuart-Hargreaves, the holiday camp's ballroom dancing instructor. He appeared in 46 episodes between 1980 and 1986. Sadly he died last year but his performances will live on.
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