Blue Peter legend Peter Duncan signs major deals to screen his lavish filmed pantomime Cinderella in UK cinemas. Cinderella will get a VIP red carpet premiere at Everyman Kings Cross then roll out to Showcase Cinemas, VUE, Light Cinemas, Omniplex and 12 independents.
In the summer of 2020, with theatres across the UK closed and hundreds of pantomimes cancelled due to the covid pandemic, legendary daredevil ‘Blue Peter’ presenter, former Chief Scout and Olivier nominated Actor, Peter Duncan – himself a critically acclaimed panto dame, writer and director – decided to take a risk and film a new type of pantomime using his own south London garden as location.
Jack and the Beanstalk was originally planned only as an online film to be streamed by families to watch together at home over Christmas. But the finished movie impressed UK cinemas chains and went on to receive a VIP red carpet premiere and a nationwide cinema release.
It was also watched by over 2,500 schools and groups across the UK.
Now Peter returns to entertain the nation again this Christmas with Cinderella, an even more lavish production with more boos, cheers, ‘he’s behind you’s, a sing-a-long song and all the classic panto antics that we love. and more cinemas are going to screen it alongside schools, watching it at home or in the classroom.
Cinderella will get a red carpet premiere at Everyman King’s Cross on Saturday 4 December. It will then roll out to Showcase cinemas across the UK, then a week later VUE, Light Cinemas, Omniplex and 12 independents.
Peter said: “This style of filmed panto is a new genre. There is slapstick and slosh, beautiful and comic songs that you get in a traditional theatre panto. But you also get prompted to shout at the characters on screen and the film is littered with contemporary references for the grown ups and jokes only children will laugh at.
“As a film director I am motivated by the films of Chaplin and Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy. Their early film work was born of working in variety theatre. That’s where they honed their skills with a live audience. I’ve played them both in theatre productions so my knowledge of their journey from theatre to film is etched into my thinking when translating pantomime to film. I am also influenced by films like ‘The Princess Bride ‘and ‘Flash Gordon’, in which I have a small but memorable cameo (so I’m often told). I also had roles in Charles Dicken’s ‘Quilp’ based on ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ and Mike Apted’s ‘Stardust’, and these musical films helped my understanding of filming songs on film. I have also tried to create a continuous shot at the end of ‘Cinderella’, a small homage to La La Land’s opening sequence. One of the songs in ‘Cinderella’ is a Sondheim pastiche to him crossed with a ‘its behind you moment. I don’t think he would approve!”