Belfast Telegraph

Jason Manford goes potty about role in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Comedian Jason Manford has said he is "very excited" about starring in a new production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The family favourite by Bond writer Ian Fleming will be toured around the UK and Ireland, kicking off at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre in 2016.

The 34-year-old will play Caractacus Potts, the role portrayed by American star Dick Van Dyke in the movie, from February 10 2016 until April 24. He will return to the show from October 5 2016.

Lee Mead, recently seen in BBC One's Casualty, takes over as Potts from May 4 until September 18 2016.

Manford, who is currently performing a couple of live stand-up dates, enjoyed success in West End productions The Producers and Sweeney Todd.

Talking about his forthcoming engagement at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre, the star took to Twitter and posted: "S o I'm gonna be playing Caractacus Potts in the 2016 tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Very excited!"

The Mancunian heads up a cast that includes a 1980s pop star, a soap stalwart and a popular comedian.

Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp will build on his flair for playing villains by taking on the role of the evil Child Catcher. Kemp played bad boy Steve Owen in EastEnders and starred alongside his brother Gary in The Krays.

Funnyman Phill Jupitus (The Producers) will play Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst, and Amy Griffiths (Everyman) has been cast as Truly Scrumptious.

All three will play their roles until April 24 2016.

The cast is rounded off by Michelle Collins as Baroness Bomburst. Lately seen in Coronation Street, she remains most famous for playing Cindy Beale in EastEnders.

Andy Hockley (The Phantom Of The Opera) will play Grandpa Potts.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's pedigree includes author Fleming and Oscar winners Richard M Sherman and his brother Robert B Sherman who wrote the film's famous songs.

Music and lyrics included in the movie include Truly Scrumptious, Toot Sweets, Hushabye Mountain and the Oscar-nominated title song Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The duo also worked on box office smashes Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book. They won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins and two Grammy Awards. They received 21 gold and platinum albums.

This new production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse artistic director James Brining, with new choreography by Stephen Mear.

There will be a live orchestra with musical supervision by Stephen Ridley. Set and costume design is by Simon Higlett, lighting design is by Tim Mitchell, sound design is by Ben Harrison and video design is by Simon Wainwright. Organisers said the new production will have sensational sets and stunning special effects.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's tour takes in cities including Belfast, Nottingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Sheffield.

Michael Ockwell, Mayflower Theatre chief executive and chairman of music and lyrics, said: "I am thrilled that as part of Music and Lyrics we are able to bring Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with such a stunning cast to Southampton in February. Once again we are launching a UK tour and enabling our local community to rediscover the magic of this wonderful musical - fasten your seatbelts Southampton it's going to be a magical ride!"

Ticket information is available on the official website:

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