Lily James leads BBC Two’s Beauty and the Beast panto
James R | On 11, Dec 2021
Lily James is getting her panto on this Christmas, leading a star-studded cast in a Zoom rendition of Beauty and the Beast for BBC Two.
After the success of last year’s BBC panto for Comic Relief, returning as narrator will be Guz Khan as Bonzo. He will gleefully retell the beloved fairy-tale of an unlikely romance between a cursed beast and his warm-hearted prisoner.
Lily James (The Pursuit of Love, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, Downton Abbey) will portray Beauty alongside Oliver Chris as The Beast (Trying, Motherland). They will be joined by Kiell Smith-Bynoe (Ghosts, Stath Lets Flats) as Beauty’s brother Jacques, Sian Gibson (Murder, They Hope, Car Share) who plays their mother, Ma, and Susan Wokoma (Enola Holmes, Chewing Gum) as Amelie. Further cast names and roles include Celia Imrie (Keeping Faith, Better Things) as Malabelle, Simon Bird (Friday Night Dinner, The Inbetweeners) as Remy, Pam Ferris (Call The Midwife, Holmes & Watson) as Marie and Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner, Plebs) as Mr Bell.
But what will the cast do with the classic, Beauty and the Beast? In this unique interpretation there promises to be some clever camera tricks, surprising moments of comedy and of guest stars popping up in the form of Miranda Hart, Lenny Henry, David Tennant, David Walliams and Michael Sheen. Illustrations will once again be provided by Quentin Blake.
The production comes off the back of last year’s Cinderella, which starred Regé-Jean Page, Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter and Anya Taylor Joy – plus Daniel Craig as the horse Wheezy Jeff – which raised nearly £900,000 for Comic Relief.
It will be written by Ben Crocker, Dawson Bros and Richard Curtis.
Sian Gibson says: “I thought my Panto career was behind me, but oh no its not! I’m so thrilled to be taking part in this years’ Comic Relief Pantomime for BBC Two, Beauty and the Beast. Just thrilled I’ve not been asked to play the beast actually. It’s going to be lots of Christmassy fun and a great chance to raise crucial funds for such a wonderful charity.”
Tom Rosenthal says: “The chance to act alongside Simon Bird is an opportunity I cannot turn down, seemingly. Beauty and the Beast the Comic Relief Pantomime will be the best thing to happen to Zoom since the Handforth Parish Council.”
The panto will air on Sunday 19th December at 9pm on BBC Two.