Filmmakers create hilarious Lambton Worm video as Customs House puts finishing touches to South Shields pantomime

Families have been getting a teaser of this year's festive pantomime ahead of the curtains going up next month.

Filmmakers captured the Lambton Worm in a short film giving a taste of what awaits with a pantomime adaptation of the famous mackem song opens at the Customs House.

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The short sketch, filmed on the banks of the Tyne just outside the theatre at Mill Dam, features Dame Bella Ballcock (played by Ray Spencer) and her on-stage son Arbuthnot (David John Hopper).

The film, by Unified Media, includes drone footage to depict a ‘worm’s eye view’ of The Customs House as the creature emerges from the Tyne where Arbuthnot is fishing.

Other cast members then appear to help coax the worm into the theatre, ready for its starring role in The Lambton Worm.

Though it does take a bit of poetic licence as it shows the monstrous worm being caught outside the theatre in the Tyne, rather than the Wear.

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Ray, who also co-wrote and directed the show, said: “We worked closely with Unified Media to come up with a concept that would reflect the fun of the pantomime. It was very important for us to support a local company.”

Unified Media was formed in 2015 by a group of filmmakers and musicians from South Shields, to provide bespoke, professional creative and cinematic video productions for any occasion.

Co-founder Jon Burton said: “The Customs House approached us to create the advert for The Lambton Worm with something quite creative in mind.

“Certainly more ambitiously than previous years, they were looking for a way to actually have the worm feature as a character in the advert, without revealing what it looks like.

“We devised a way to use our aerial drone to achieve this, and the result you see is the characters seen from a sort of 'worm’s-eye-view'!

“We had half a day to get everything we needed with the actors in costume, so it was a challenging shoot, but it was very enjoyable working with the panto cast.”

The Lambton Worm pantomime has been written in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the traditional north east folk song The Lambton Worm, which was written in 1867.

It tells the legend of the brave Sir John Lambton, who returns home from war to slay a ferocious beast that has been terrorising the villages around the Lambton estate.

There will be a twist in the tale – and a much happier ending – in The Customs House version of the story, however.

Steven Lee Hamilton will take on the role of The Brave and Bold Sir John, with Eleanor Chaganis as the princess, Natasha Haws as Susie Soothsayer from Southwick and Georgia Nicholson as her sister, Poison Pen from Penshaw.

Gareth Hunter appears as The Sultan, while comedian and one half of Britain’s Got Talent’s The Mimic Men, Cal Halbert, plays Lord Larry Lambton and Lewis Jobson will don the costume of Puddles the Dog.

Designers Paul Shriek and Matt Fox have once again worked their magic on the costumes and sets and backing dancers will be provided by South Tyneside Dance Workshop.

The pantomime opens on November 28 and runs until January 6. Visit https://www.customshouse.co.uk/theatre/the-lambton-worm/ or call the box office on 0191 454 1234 to book tickets.

The theatre has already announced the details of its 2018 pantomime, which will be Beauty and the Beast, but its focus is now on making this year's production a roaring success.