Christopher Biggins, today launched the 2015 West End Heroes gala concert at the Dominion Theatre with a little help from some military friends….
Dressed as an RAF service woman – just one of the “characters” he’ll play on the night in several big song and dance numbers – he promised a night of surprises, fun and jollity and some rather special flying sequences!
The hugely popular star of musical theatre, screen comedies, panto dame extraordinaire and one of Britain’s best-loved TV personalities, is the host of the 2015 West End Heroes gala concert on Sunday 4 October.
Last year the casts of many of the biggest West End musicals united with the finest UK military bands and musicians in a stunning performance that raised £78,243.01 for the Help For Heroes charity.
He said: “I’m delighted to be able to give my support to West End Heroes by hosting what I know will be a marvellous evening, with some wonderful surprises. It’s a wonderful way for the West End to show their appreciation for all that our lovely service folk do for us and to support such a worthy charity.”
West End Heroes will again unite the country’s top military musicians with even more West End performers and productions in a dazzling showcase of show-stopping numbers, unlikely song mash-ups and stunning choreography and precision drilling.
Confirmed to appear are the West End casts of Elf The Musical, Phantom of the Opera and Memphis. With appearances from Ben Forster, Bradley Jaden, Celinde Schoenmaker, Charlotte Jaconelli, El Ocho, Jamie Raven, Jessica Martin, Joe McGann, John Owen Jones, Jon Robyns, Kimberley Walsh, Maurillia Simpson, Mazz Murray, Rachel John.
Returning to form the centrepiece of the gala and under the baton of Squadron Leader Piers Morrell will be The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, which is widely regarded as one of the finest military bands in the UK and incorporates the celebrated RAF Squadronaires Big Band. There will also be support from The Band of HM Royal
Marines, The Band of The Queen’s Division and Ceremonial Fanfares. There will be
also a perfornance by Colchester Garrision Military Wives Choir.
West End Heroes will once again be generously supported by many TV and theatre stars and will feature line-ups from current and past West End Shows. There will again be a performance from the West End Heroes Choir – made up of people working behind the scenes in the West End – led by Stuart Morley and the West End Heroes Dancers, led by Matt Flint.
Earlier today, Bonnie Britain from LondonTheatre1.com chatted with Christopher Biggins:
Bonnie: How did you get involved in this year’s West End Heroes?
Biggins: They approached me and asked if I would host it for them, and I jumped at the opportunity. I just think it is a fantastic organization. There is something about a military band which is so special and I just love the idea of being on stage with them.
Bonnie: So did they tempt you to do it with the fact you are going to get to perform with them as well?
Biggins: Exactly! There was a lot of temptation and I’ll perform with a soldier any day.
Bonnie: Well you looked very at home with them at the photocall – have you ever put the uniform on before?
Biggins: I have, I did it with the late Cilla Black and Gloria Hunnyford. When we were The Andrews Sisters at the London Palladium for the Royal Variety Show, and the two girls especially Cilla were furious that my legs are much nicer than theirs. It’s because I have Queen Anne legs!
Bonnie: Will you be getting your legs out at West End Heroes?
Biggins: Of Course!
Bonnie : Can you give us any other hints about the other surprises lined up for the evening?
Biggins: There is a possibility I could be flying, and a possibility I will appear in many different disguises. And we are definitely going to have the best evening at the Dominion Theatre on October 4th. It’s all going to be fantastic.
Bonnie: Other than the military band who else are you looking forward to seeing?
Biggins: I think we are very lucky that we can call on West End theatres and shows, for instance I’m really looking forward to seeing Elf on the night. And it’s a nice chance for me to catch up with friends that are in the shows too.
Bonnie: You do a lot of charity work, how do you choose what to do?
Biggins: I have about 6 or 7 charities that I give all of my time for and then I also do things for my friends too. The trouble is I have too many friends. The thing is though it is wonderful in our business, which has been so good to me over the years to be able to give back. So I’m very happy to do it. I am cutting down a little because it can start to take over your life, but it takes no effort really sometimes to just turn up and smile.
Bonnie: Other than charity work what’s next for you?
Biggins: Well I’m doing a lot of TV at the moment, they are doing a new strange extended version of “come dine with me”
Bonnie: Which you won before…
Biggins: Yes I won last time but this time I’m still a winner but I’m judging other people with the lovely voice-over man Dave Lamb who is fronting this program. And Dave Lamb is great. And then I have Panto this year at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham. It is the 150th Anniversary of the theatre and I’m going in to my 40th year of doing panto so there is a lot to celebrate. I will be playing Widow Twankey in Aladdin and my son will be played by Simon from Blue. We have a great cast so I’m thrilled.
Bonnie: Why people should go and get tickets for West End Heroes?
Biggins: If you have not bought a ticket yet you are a wuss! Go out and buy one immediately. No go out and buy 10 – bring some friends, it’s such a worthwhile charity and you are going to have a great night – we will all have so much fun.
You heard the man you don’t want to be the Wuss – that missed out on a fantastic night. Ticket details are below.
By Bonnie Britain
Help for Heroes offers comprehensive support to those who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses after serving our country. This support is provided through grants direct to our Heroes and their families, grants to other charities and through four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres across the UK. A study in September 2014 by Help for Heroes and the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that 75,000 men and women may need long term support following the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Creative Team for For West End Heroes 2015
Director Tim Marshall
(Festival of Remembrance, Royal Albert Hall)
Squadron Leader Piers Morrell, Director of Music, RAF Central Band
Musical Supervisor Stuart Morley
(We Will Rock You; Night of a 1000 Stars)
Choreographer Matt Flint
(So You Think You Can Dance; Strictly Come Dancing)
Assistant Director Carole Todd
(Carnaby Street, Dreamboats and Petticoats)
Design Tim Soden
(The Lion King; Calendar Girls)
Produced by Dominion Events
Tickets from £32.50
VIP Packages available which include
pre-show reception, premium seat and
access to the concert after-party
West End Heroes
Sunday 4th October 2015 – 7.30pm