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<em> ‘CBeebies Panto: Dick Whittington and His Cat’ </em> review (2022)

Each year CBeebies perform a Christmas themed show which is recorded in a theatre somewhere in the UK for an exclusive audience. It is then gets edited together and transmitted on the CBeebies channel in the lead up to Christmas. However, for the last few years prior to the television transmission the show screens in cinemas across the country along with some sneaky extras. This year is no exception and on 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th December, The CBeebies Panto: Dick Whittington and His Cat will arrive at over 500 locations.

After last year’s reversioning of The Night Before Christmas, CBeebies will this time be tackling the famous pantomime story of Dick Whittington. As always though this isn’t the traditional tale that many are familiar with, as it gets a deluxe CBeebies update. This update includes a trio of dastardly rats, a magical golden hammer and a host of original songs. There are of course appearances from everyone’s favourite CBeebies presenters and stars. Some are more recognisable than others, and little ones and grown-ups alike will have fun trying to work out who’s hiding under some of the costumes. There are also plenty of Easter eggs from popular CBeebies shows. These will likely fly over the heads of the younger audience members, but are an extra special little touch. For the parents especially, spotting them will serve as vindication for all the hours of CBeebies they have watched. 

Ben Cajee is a core member of the CBeebies House presenting team meaning audiences have already seen him sing and dance. Here he’s thrust into the spotlight as Dick and proves to be a valiant and charming panto lead. He has great support from Alex Phelps as Dick’s trusty cat Lucky. Communicating exclusively in Meows, Phelps ‘Groots’ his way through his performance. The ratty villains Stilton, Turnip and Sprout, are played by the talented threesome of Rebecca Keatley, Cat Sandion and James Mackenzie. Their performances are so mean that they elicit the panto required boos and hisses. Some really young viewers may find them a tad too menacing but there are plenty of silly moments between the three to keep the tone bright and light. The towering height of Andy Day is magnificent as, of all things, a pigeon, and it wouldn’t be CBeebies Christmas without an appearance from Justin Fletcher.

Fletcher may only have a small part in the panto, but those that see CBeebies Panto: Dick Whittington and His Cat at the cinema will get extra helpings of him. Joined by everyone’s favourite CBeebies House dog, Dodge, the pair introduce a plethora of sing-along classics from previous Christmas shows. This opening segment sets the scene for what is to follow perfectly. It even squeezes in a round of “it’s behind you”. Although a cinema screening, this is a show that encourages audience interaction. At only an hour it will also make the perfect first cinema trip if you haven’t tested the younger family members in that setting yet. A fantastic and fun-filled way to kick-off off Christmas, Dick Whittington and His Cat is wholesome entertainment for all the family. 

CBeebies Panto: Dick Whittington and His Cat

Kat Hughes

CBeebies Panto: Dick Whittington and His Cat


Full of fun and joy, CBeebies Panto: Dick Whittington and His Cat is the perfect experience to shake away those autumnal blues and get in the right headspace for the festive season to come.


Experience the magic of the CBeebies Panto on the BIG SCREEN as it hits cinemas across the UK from 2 December. Book tickets now

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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