Mark clinches part in Christmas panto

Dick Whittington cast members Natalie Fletcher who plays the fairy, Keith Chegwin, Idle Jack, Mark Paterson, King Rat, Roxanne Pallett, Alice Fitzwarren, David Burton, Alderman Fitzwarren and Colette Orler, the cat
Dick Whittington cast members Natalie Fletcher who plays the fairy, Keith Chegwin, Idle Jack, Mark Paterson, King Rat, Roxanne Pallett, Alice Fitzwarren, David Burton, Alderman Fitzwarren and Colette Orler, the cat

Oh no he isn’t . . . But it was a case of ‘oh yes he is’ for Buckshaw Village’s Mark Paterson.

Mark, who works part-time at the Bay Horse pub, Euxton, fought off more than 20 hopefuls, to win the part of villain King Rat.

“I’m really chuffed to be in this panto, I absolutely love it,” he said.

“Panto is quite often the first time children will visit the theatre so there’s quite a big responsibility to impress.

“It’s a real family affair and I think it means quite a lot to everybody. I’m really pleased to be playing King Rat as well, he’s one of the best villains in the panto industry.”

Auditions took place at Bolton Whites Hotel.

The performances, which start in December, will also take place in the hotel’s Premier Suite, which will be transformed in to a 1,000 seating theatre.

As part of the auditions, hopefuls had to perform in front of a panel which included both Keith and Roxanne.

After being crowned the winner, Mark, who trained at Artsed Drama School in London, admitted it was quite a shock.

“I didn’t know much about the day at all,” he added.

“To be honest, it was like an X-Factor audition, there was loads of people in a room and everybody was waiting around.

“It was a surprise to me but I’m very much looking forward to it.

“I’m not the biggest planner in the world and it does seem quite a while away, but I’m sure it will come round quickly.”

Mark is no stranger to the panto scene and has performed alongside Steve Royle and at the Opera House in Manchester.

He also attends classes hosted by Jim Cartwright, a multi award-winning playwright, screenwriter and directory, in Chorley town centre.

Despite performing on the big stage, which includes parts in Horrible History and Match of the Day, the working actor, who also teaches drama in Bury and Oswaldtwistle, admits he is particularly looking forward to this up and coming panto.

“I’m really looking forward to taking the stage with Keith and Roxanne, I think they’ll be great to work with.

“I really hope this can give me a break – work breeds work.

“I really think it’s important to do things as you never know who is watching.”

Keith, who will be playing Idle Jack in the production this Christmas, said: “I love panto so much,

“I even did an Easter panto this year and it was packed out all over the country.

“I have never done Dick Whittington before and it’s really fresh for me, which is fantastic.

“I like the audience participation from beginning to end and I like a safe, traditional panto with none of the filthy gags or anything.

“Anyone from age eight to 80 should be able to come and watch and have a good time.”