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‘Sadly not my decision’ - Theatre Royal panto favourite will not return in 2019

PUBLISHED: 15:54 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:49 05 January 2019

Norwich Theatre Royal's 2018 pantomime - Aladdin. Ben Langley as Wishee Washee, Richard Gauntlett as Widow Twankey and Steven Roberts as Aladdin. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography

Norwich Theatre Royal's 2018 pantomime - Aladdin. Ben Langley as Wishee Washee, Richard Gauntlett as Widow Twankey and Steven Roberts as Aladdin. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography

2018

Comedian and Britain’s Got Talent star Ben Langley says he will soon leave his Norwich panto days behind him after being told he won’t be in the 2019 cast.

The Theatre Royal panto stalwart, who lives in Shimpling near Diss, was told by the producer that the show is going in a ‘new direction’ for the next production of Cinderella.

Ben, who is currently starring as Wishee Washee in Aladdin, felt obliged to reveal the news on Twitter after a fan tweeted him saying they had already booked tickets to see him in Cinderella.

The news has not been confirmed by Theatre Royal staff and a spokesman said that they would not be making any casting announcements ‘until later in January’.

Ben Langley as Wishee Washee Credit: Rosa Maria HughesBen Langley as Wishee Washee Credit: Rosa Maria Hughes

But Ben said: “I learned properly about three weeks ago I wasn’t to be appearing in next year’s pantomime - this was a great shock to me but I totally accept their decision.

“It is very sad to me, knowing I won’t be allowed to continue to entertain the lush people of Norfolk.

“The Theatre Royal is a wonderful place to work and they are choosing to go in a different direction with Cinderella and I’m sure it will be a great show without me.”

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Reacting to the news, Sarah Sickle tweeted: “Had a fabulous time at Theatre Royal watching the best panto with Dicky Gauntlett and Ben Langley, devastated to learn Ben Langley will be leaving, what a travesty!”

Ben has appeared in the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime for the past five years as the comedy character.

Ben added: “I live down the road and have a young family and it has been a great benefit as I’ve been able to do the school run so life will change.”

Ben Langley as Wishee Washee Credit: Rosa Maria HughesBen Langley as Wishee Washee Credit: Rosa Maria Hughes

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He has worked extensively in theatre including Charlie Chaplin in Franco Zefirelli’s Il Pagliacci at The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and Toby Jones in hit BBC4 comedy Detectorists.

He also starred in the 2018 series of Britain’s Got Talent and received a standing ovation from the judges as he poked fun of misheard song lyrics.

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