Berwick Kaler as Frank Blossom
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Kaler is most famous for playing the pantomime dame in York Theatre Royal's annual pantomime, which he also writes and directs. He has been awarded the freedom of the city, and in 2002 received an honorary degree from the University of York. Having grown up in "the slums of Sunderland", Kaler left school at 15 to seek success on the London stage. He got taken on at Dreamland in Margate to learn his trade. He has had TV roles in such shows as The New Statesman, Crocodile Shoes, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Spender as well as steady theatre work. However, it is his role in the York pantomime that has won him the most acclaim.
Many pantomimes in recent years have relied heavily on celebrity guest stars and risque humour. Kaler's pantos reject this and hark back to a more traditional form of pantomime. Kaler comments: "I want everyone to laugh at the same joke". Kaler's central role in writing, producing and directing has led Dominic Cavendish of The Daily Telegraph to call him the "panto's biggest asset and its biggest liability." Kaler has assembled a cast of actors who regularly return to the panto.
Towards the end of each pantomime at the Theatre Royal in York Berwick Kaler throws Wagon Wheels, as one might a Frisbee, to the audience, as well as handing out a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale to a father seated in the stalls.
In November 2010 Kaler followed in the footsteps of actress Jean Alexander and TV presenter Harry Gration in switching on the Christmas lights in the village of Burn. In recognition of the village's Victorian market he dressed as Queen Victoria, something he often does in each pantomime. During the event, he was appointed Honorary Dame of Burn.
In 2012, he was featured on the documentary Michael Grade's History of the Pantomime Dame, which also featured clips from the 2011 pantomime The York Family Robinson, a parody of the novel The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. The program aired in December 2012 on BBC Four.
- A Knight's Tale (2001) as Man in Stocks
- The Worst Witch (TV Series) (1998-1999) as Frank Blossom.
- Jude (1996)
- A Very British Coup as Smith
- The Man With Two Heads (1972)
- The Rats Are Coming, The Werewolves Are Here (1971)
- Nightbirds (1970)
- Bloodthirsty Butchers (1970)
- The Body Beneath (1970)
- ↑ http://www.york.ac.uk/admin/presspr/pressreleases/honours02.htm
- ↑ http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/features/article26472.ece
- ↑ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/3648737/Pantos-merriest-widow.html
- ↑ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/drama/3649137/When-the-star-is-the-problem.html
- ↑ http://www.selbytimes.co.uk/news/local-news/district-news/panto_dame_christmas_lights_switch_on_1_2768756
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pdt40
- ↑ http://movies.piczo.com/movie/nightbirds/story
- ↑ http://movies.piczo.com/movie/nightbirds
- ↑ http://www.movietome.com/people/46588/berwick-kaler/index.html
- ↑ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0435693/