Lily James and Oliver Chris will lead the cast of BBC Two’s new Comic Relief pantomime for 2021 this December.
Writers Ben Crocker, Dawson Bros and Richard Curtis will turn Beauty And The Beast into a festive panto delight, all to raise money for some very good causes.
The magical tale tells the story of a prince, cursed to live as a terrifying monster until he finds true love, and a village girl called Belle, who draws the cold-hearted beast out of his isolation.
Beauty And The Beast panto cast revealed!
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) stars 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.
Returning to tell this years’ tale will be narrator Guz Khan as Bonzo.
The BBC tease: “In this unique interpretation there promises to be some clever camera tricks, surprising moments of comedy and of course big guest stars popping up including Miranda Hart, Lenny Henry, David Tennant, David Walliams and Michael Sheen. Illustrations will once again be provided by Quentin Blake.
“While viewers enjoy the show at home, they will have the opportunity to donate to Comic Relief, if they feel able to, to help support people living with hunger, struggling with their mental health or feeling lonely or unsafe.”
Sian Gibson said: “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 added: “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.”
Richard Curtis, Executive Producer for Studio Crook and Comic Relief co-founder, commented: “I don’t know that we’ve ever done anything for Comic Relief which was more full of a sense of fame and fun – last year the show made nearly a million pounds, and I’m really hoping that Beauty and the Beast will also raise a beautiful amount of cash for all our brilliant projects at a pretty beastly time.”
Katie Taylor, BBC Commissioning Editor says: “Christmas is the time of coming together and what better way than to have a giggle, laughing along with some of the finest faces of stage and screen doing their best Panto impressions whilst raising money for those in need”
Beauty And The Beast – A Pantomime for Comic Relief will air on Sunday 19th December at 9PM on BBC Two.
It’s the second Comic Relief panto following last year’s Cinderella, which starred Regé-Jean Page, Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Anya Taylor Joy and 007 himself, Daniel Craig as the horse Wheezy Jeff, which raised nearly £900,000 for Comic Relief. You can watch Cinderella on iPlayer here.