Andy Ford answers our questions - recorded August 2020.
Ever since we first saw him perform in panto at the Bristol Hippodrome in 2009 we have been huge fans of Andy Ford, he is a fantastic addition to any pantomime cast with appeal to adults and children alike. We would as far as to say Andy is our favourite panto performer ever. Complete with his unique west-country charm he gives 100% at every performance and we cannot rant about him enough and for that Andy we say....ta!
“ the performance should be extravagant and flamboyant. For many children, pantomime will be the first time they’ve come to the theatre, so we have to make it memorable!”.”
In an interview back in 2015 Andy gave his thoughts on pantomime - “The most important aspect of a pantomime is that it has to be entertaining! Not only entertaining for a certain demographic, entertaining for a very, very wide range of people. The whole family must be able to enjoy the same piece of entertainment. Secondly, the performance should be extravagant and flamboyant. For many children, pantomime will be the first time they’ve come to the theatre, so we have to make it memorable. The most rewarding part of doing pantomime is seeing a whole family together, enjoying themselves. There aren’t many situations where the whole family can be in one place, and enjoy the same thing.”
After working with an array of showbiz legends in his many years of pantomime, Andy states that his favourite pantomime co-stars include Warwick Davies, Henry Winkler, Bernie Nolan, Claire Sweeney and Letitia Dean. However, his favourite has been EastEnders legend Barbara Windsor, who he starred with in Dick Whittington in 2010 at the Bristol Hippodrome.
Andy is no stranger to TV and he first burst onto our screens in the 1990s with an appearance on Jonathan Ross' Big Big Talent Show before heading over to be a guest on the sofa with chat show legend Des O'Connor and appearing on Phillip Schofield's Talking Telephone Numbers. In 1997 Andy performed at the Royal Variety performance in the presence of The Queen, this should have been his biggest TV break but sadly his act was cut during the edit due to the show over running.
Andy has said his favourite comedy panto role is playing Buttons, his concern however is that he does not want to be a 75 year old Buttons declaring his love for a twenty year old Cinders. Andy has been offered the opportunity to play dame but has always turned this down...so far! playing lead comic is where Andy's heart really is. Playing a panto villain is a role Andy has not yet been asked to play but it's a role he would consider as long as there was a comedy element to it.
Amongst Andy's showbiz pals are Steve McFadden, Henry Winkler, Kara Tointon, Joe Pasquale and Barbara Windsor. In 2010 when Barbara Windsor made her panto return at the Bristol Hippodrome she was such a fan of Andy's that she stipulated in her contract as a condition that Andy Ford had to be in the cast.
1997 - Peter Pan - Bournemouth Pavilion & Bristol Hippodrome
1998 - The Wizard of Oz - Reading Hexagon with Michaela Stachan
1999 - Cinderella - Sheffield Lyceum with Jansen Spencer
2000 - Jack and the Banstalk - Croydon with Kate Richie and Chris Jarvis
2001 - Snow White - The Dartford Orchard with Letitia Dean
2002 - Peter Pan - Derngate Theatre Northampton with John Altman
2003 - Aladdin - The Ashcroft Theatre Croydon with Dean Gaffney
2004 - Cinderella - Doncaster Civic with Maureen Nolan
2005 - Snow White - Theatre Royal Nottingham with Claire Sweeney
2006 - Snow White - Ashcroft Theatre Croydon with Bernie Nolan
2007 - Peter Pan - Churchill Theatre Bromley with Paul Michael Glaser
2008 - Peter Pan - Milton Keynes Theatre with Henry Winkler
2009 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Bristol Hippodrome with Joe Swash
2010 - Dick Whittington - Bristol Hippodrome with Barbara Windsor
2011 - Peter Pan - Bristol Hippodrome with David Hasslehoff
2012 - Aladdin - Bristol Hippodrome with Josie Gibson and Carol McGiffin
2013 - Cinderella - Bristol Hippodrome with Louie Spence
2014 - Dick Whittington - Bristol Hippodrome with Eric Potts
2015 - Snow White - Bristol Hippodrome with Warwick Davies
2016 - Snow White - New Victoria Theatre Woking with Warwick Davies
2017 - Peter Pan - Theatre Royal Plymouth with Steve McFadden
2018 - Dick Whittington - Theatre Royal Plymouth with Samantha Womack & John Partridge
2019 - Peter Pan - Orchard Theatre Dartford with Steve McFadden
2020 - Robinson Crusoe - Theatre Royal Plymouth with Les Dennis, Connor McIntyre & Jennie Dale
2021 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with Lesley Joseph & Rob Rinder at the Bristol Hippodrome