There was some pressure being put on me by both my mother and by Jimmy
Staples for me to accept an offer I'd had to do pantomime at Christmas
1958 in Birmingham instead of going to Germany with Ivy and the girls.
Jimmy had also told me he knew many people in the business he could
introduce me to, which could lead to a step in the right direction for
It was argued that being on an air force base in the middle of the German
Forests wasn't going to get me further up the ladder to fame and fortune.
I said I'd think about it and I thought long and hard. The fun loving
me wanted to go with the girls but that would not help my career, whereas
if I stayed in England, Birmingham was near enough to London so I would
be able to get around to meet people with influence in the business.
After very much soul searching and desperately wanting to do the right
thing, I decided to stay in England for the winter of 1958/59, I then
informed Ivy Benson I wouldn't be going with her to Germany, not this
She accepted my news and said she hoped that I would rejoin them for
the next summer in the Isle of Man. I then informed my agent I was going
to do the Pantomime in Birmingham.
Pantomime in England
has nothing to do with miming per se but is a Christmas show put on
by actors and singers choosing one of the children's stories such as
Alice in Wonderland and acting out the story with the players in wonderful
costumes designed from those worn to serve Royalty. The Principle boy
is always played by a female who wears dancing tights and velvet jackets.
The female characters in the story are always played by men in women's
costumes. This has long been a tradition for British children to go
and watch with their whole families. The group of performers that I
was now booked to join were doing "Cinderella". I was to play
the part of a nanny and do a speciality number involving all the children
who were in the show and me leading them playing the bagpipes.
I was looking forward