Berwick is back! Legendary dame to star in Grand Opera House panto this Christmas

A classic Berwick dame moment from the past
30 Jan 2020 @ 12.23 pm
| Entertainment

The Berwick Kaler panto is finished. Oh no it’s not!

After being binned by the York Theatre Royal, the Grand Opera House has announced they are to bring Berwick and the gang back to stage Dick Turpin Rides Again in December.


Berwick also returns to star as the dame, two years after retiring from the role.

Dick Turpin Rides Again reunites the pantomime regulars, including comedy side-kick Martin Barrass, the villainous David Leonard, Yorkshire’s longest-serving principal girl Suzy Cooper and favourite funny man AJ Powell.

Berwick will also write and direct the production.

Having made his York pantomime debut as Ugly Sister in Cinderella in 1977, Berwick has performed, written and directed panto in the city ever since, calling out his iconic catchphrase ‘me babbies, me bairns’ and met with adoration from audiences at every performance.

Big producers

Martin Barrass, Berwick Kaler and Suzy Cooper at the curtain call of the final show of Sleeping Beauty. Photographs: Jan Tallack
This year’s Grand Opera House pantomime will be produced by Qdos Entertainment for the very first time.

Qdos is the world’s biggest pantomime producer, and the Olivier Award winning team behind pantomimes across the UK, and at the world famous London Palladium each Christmas.


Dick Turpin Rides Again will “feature Qdos Entertainment’s hallmark of high-quality production values and special effects, whilst staying faithful to Berwick’s renowned approach to the genre and to local York audiences”.

Berwick said today:

  • Qdos Entertainment have come to the rescue of the most lauded pantomime in the country having found us a new home at the Grand Opera House in our beloved city of York.

    To make this a success we need you – the most articulate and loyal audience in the entire country.

    We can go forth with a management that believes we have enhanced the reputation of a local pantomime that has caught the imagination of young and old, from all walks of life.

Panto wars!

The principals of Sleeping Beauty at York Theatre Royal, L-R: Suzy Cooper, Martin Barrass, David Leonard and AJ Powell. Photograph: Anthony Robling
Berwick co-directed and wrote this year’s York Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty. But the cast were shocked when told it would be their last at the theatre.

Executive director Tom Bird said it was due to falling ticket sales, and he was bringing in a new creative team to stage a “spectacular” new show this Christmas.

So we are all set for panto wars!

Qdos MD Michael Harrison said:

  • We are absolutely delighted to be embarking on an all-new pantomime partnership with our colleagues at the Ambassador Theatre Group, Grand Opera House and, of course, Berwick and the gang.

    Berwick is an undeniable master in the world of pantomime, with his own inimitable style and approach and we are delighted to be working closely with him and the cast to bring back the magic for which they are best-known.


“Qdos brings both world-class expertise and also a Yorkshire heart, being based in Scarborough; the perfect combination together with this talented cast,” says Grand Opera House’s theatre director Rachel Crocombe-Lane.

“As a venue team, pantomime is our favourite time of year because of the friendship with the company and also the joy and devotion of our audience.

“We are proud of these new partnerships, excited for the future of our Pantomime and will be ready altogether to really blow your Christmas socks off!”

Timings and tickets

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Dick Turpin Rides Again will play at Grand Opera House from Saturday 12 December until Sunday 10 January 2021.

Tickets going on sale for ATG Theatre Card holders from Tuesday 11 February, and on sale generally from Friday 14 February. Berwick Kaler will be making a personal appearance at the theatre Box Office as it goes on sale at 10am on the 14 February, and will sell the first tickets to the show.