JAMES Mackenzie follows in the CBeebies’ footsteps of Maddie Moate last winter and Andy Day in 2021 in being signed up for the York Theatre Royal pantomime.
The Scottish actor and game show host, 44, will play the villainous Luke Backinanger in the “Fe-Fi-Fo-Fun family pantomime” Jack And The Beanstalkfrom December 8 2023 to January 7 2024.
Moate appeared as Tinkerbell in All New Adventures Of Peter Pan, preceded by Day’s Dandini in Cinderella.
Mackenzie will turn to the dark side in the fourth panto collaboration between the Theatre Royal and Evolution Productions, having played the immortal, leather-clad warrior in CBBC’s fantasy adventure game show Raven.
He was the original lead character in the multi-Bafta award-winning show Raven from 2002 to 2010. This mysterious warlord led young warriors on a quest to test their skills and win their heart’s desire in a show that garnered cult status, spanning 15 series ﬁlmed in far-ﬂung exotic locations such as India. Its popularity saw it air from Canada to Australia and places aplenty in between.
Mackenzie has worked for many theatre companies, such as the National Theatre of Scotland, and has performed all over Britain in everything from Macbeth to the Proclaimers’ musical Sunshine On Leith. He has been a regular in BBC Scotland’s soap opera River City and made guest appearances in Still Game and Outlander.
Over the past few years, he has been introduced to a new CBeebies’ generation as James in Molly And Mack. He has been part of the CBeebies Christmas shows and performed on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe for CBeebies Shakespeare. Like most Scottish actors, he has appeared in Taggart more than once.
Theatre Royal creative director Juliet Forster, who will be directing Jack And The Beanstalk, says: “We are delighted to welcome James Mackenzie to the cast for this year’s panto. James is such a well-loved children’s TV personality and we can’t wait to see him strut his stuff as the bad boy of panto.”
Mackenzie will perform alongside the already announced Robin Simpson in his fourth Theatre Royal panto. Simpson played the dame in The Travelling Pantomime in 2020, the British Pantomime Award-nominated Ugly Sister Manky in Cinderella in 2021 and Mrs Smee in All New Adventures of Peter Pan last winter.
He will be on dame duty in Jack And The Beanstalk, with further casting to be announced for a show that promises “stunning sets, lavish costumes, breath-taking special effects and lots of pantomime magic”.
Evolution’s co-founder Paul Hendy is writing the script once more, as he did for the past three pantos.
Tickets are “proving popular”, with a special family ticket offer available for all performances: £75 for bookings with three tickets, including at least one adult and one child, saving up to £52, or £100 for bookings with four tickets, including at least one adult and one child, saving up to £68. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.