Episode 421 Wednesday 23 December 1964
The residents are preparing to stage a traditional Christmas Panto for the children in the area . So we open the show in the pub where Albert Tatlock, veteran soldier and survivor of the Blitz, has stage fright and steadies his nerves at the pub. Stan and Len pick up the lemonade for the children. Annie's running around preparing for her starring role (well she *would* think that wouldn't she) as the Fairy Godmother, creme de menthe in one hand for her nerves. The possibility of a misplaced wand sends her into gales of nervous wails as she collects her wings and leaves. (Amazing, stage fright with all her experience but they do say even stars of the magnitude of Olivier had it as well! Perhaps that's *why* she's got it! Won't do to be seen as a amateur after all!)
Some bloke named Charlie Moffitt is getting help adjusting his costume from relatively new resident Hilda Ogden as the men arrive and tease him for his beauty spots! (He's one of the ugly stepsisters!) Ena is bustling around backstage seeing to backstage things and Emily is a bundle of nerves. Minnie sits amid the chaos, sound asleep on a chair. She is shaken awake by Ena, confused and afraid she's missed the play. Florrie and Hilda are amused to discover Minnie's memorized the entire play and stage directions. While Miss Nugent is nearly faint with stage fright, Mr. Swindley delivers a rousing pep talk and the play begins.
The doors open and the curtains rise on the traditional Cinderella panto with Lucille (or is it Irma, i can't tell) as the true star, Cinders, Dennis as Buttons, Emily as a page and Elsie glorious as Prince Charming! What a set of legs that Prince has! :) Len gets to do sound effects but eventually manages to get a pie in the face during a brief appearance on stage.
Meanwhile, Ken and Val are busy. Val is baking and Ken is putting up Christmas cards. They tease David about dating Irma Ogden and the amount of money he's been flashing around. Not just a little fraternal rivalry, i think.
Backstage, Florrie and Ena arrange the children's' snacks and listen to the play and the laughter of the kids. Annie's Fairy Godmother is impressive to say the least. They've got a real live pony to pull the pumpkin carriage and all!
The next time we see the Barlow three, they are in the pub, pretty much the only customers. David is buying rounds and Albert pops in for a quick one. Jack asks David about his gammy knee but David bluffs that it'll be good as new soon enough. He just needs to take it easy for awhile. I say bluffs because Albert confides to Jack that he heard David and Irma were twisting the night away so one of them's lying or "romancin'" as Albert calls it.
Albert runs back and is rushed on stage for his next scene just prior to a well choreographed dance number, a rollicking "Hey, Look Me Over" which comes in just before the saucepan...er...clock strikes 12. The backstage help have a sit down before the finale which Mr. Swindley has arranged to include everyone involved in the production. Ena and Minnie decline, dog tired to the bone and feeling they don't really belong on stage. Swindley expresses his gratitude for all their help and Dear God! Ena gets emotional!!! Then she brusquely shoos him out so he doesn't see her lose her usual crusty composure. I don't think he was fooled.
The play ends to raucous cheers and a chorus of a version of the currently popular "She Loves You, Yeah Yeah Yeah!"
Piano Man EDDIE KING Charlie Moffitt GORDON
Written by TONY WARREN Directed by MICHAEL HURN