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Heartland’s Panto Coming to the Radio

LISTEN: Tony Hull and Ramsay Beattie in conversation

Heartland FM has spent the run-up to Christmas practising, recording and fine-tuning ‘Aladdin, a pantomime for radio’ to spread the festive cheer over this Christmas.

Written and directed by Tony Hull, the panto features a cast comprised of Heartland presenters, producers and newsreaders.

Tony Hull said: “It all starts off with Ivan the Terrible, a magician who’s a failure at his magic act and gets booed out of the theatre.”

“And he accidentally finds the magic ring which allows him to conjure up a genie and the genie, in turn, tells him that if he goes to Scotland and finds a magic lamp in Pitlochry, he will be able to become ruler of the universe.”

It’s Aladdin’s job (Ramsay Beattie) to stop this from happening, but he’s already busy trying to woo over Sushi (Anne Marie), the daughter of wealthy entrepreneur Jock Wok (Alistair Smith).

With Christine Russell as Weenie McGennie, the magical and all power being who the characters are vying to free or capture, Chris Stanton as Noodle, Sushi’s absent minded little brother, and Shauny Shaun as Peelie Wallie, Pitlochry’s very own unscrupulous scrappy.

Peter Barr takes on the role of Ivan the evil magician and Charles Fletcher is the anything but reverent Mrs McTwankey, mother to Aladdin and workhorse laundrette.

This eclectic crew are all strung together by the narration of Kathrine Liley who ties the scenes from beginning to end.

And as the pandemic acted as the perfect break for Tony to put his ideas to paper and develop his story, there couldn’t be a better time to release the panto.

Tony said: “I thought ‘oh well, time to get down and write the panto’.”

“So I did, with the idea in mind of course that hopefully by the end of the year we would all be out of it and people could meet up for a proper rehearsal, but that never took place; so we’ve had to do everything online.”

Using the real-life magic of modern technology, we’ve been recording our sessions over a system called Cleanfeed which connects people online using only their microphone to record high quality audio.

The fun in the story comes from a perfect harmony between the creative writing, laugh out loud jokes and enthusiasm from the first-time actors.

Ramsay Beattie, who plays Aladdin, looked back on the recording sessions saying: “To begin with I had a minor role but I was sort of chucked into the deep end.”

“I wasn’t really too sure how it would go but I think once we had just a few practises I think everyone just got really into their characters and the fun of it.”

“No one was really an expert or had much of a background in it before so it we were all just trying it and giving our best, so it was quite a lot of fun in that way.”

To tune into and listen to Aladdin, the premier starts  at 6:45pm, running until 8pm, on Tuesday December 22.

Followed by our matinee broadcast at 1pm the following day, Wednesday 23 December, which starts with interviews with the cast and curtain up at 1:45pm.

The next matinee broadcast airs on Boxing day at 1pm, then again at 1pm on January 2.

Broadcast on air and online, listeners turning in on the radio can listen on: https://player.broadcastradio.com/heartland-fm

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