Here are some interesting figures:
In its Strategic Report of 29 February 2020, the revenue of Qdos Pantomimes was £41,330,991 (up 2% on the previous year), its profit was £2,849,717 and its net assets £16,385,763. The report picks out the panto at the London Palladium as being “the most lucrative yet.”
In its annual accounts to 30 June 2019, the Really Useful Group (which owns the London Palladium) announced a turnover of £41,203,735, a profit of £1,955,986 and net assets of £14,698,645.
These are the two companies which we know will benefit from Operation Sleeping Beauty, with tickets unable to be sold due to social distancing being bought by the National Lottery. The London Palladium has already been chosen as the flagship for this initiative and the National Lottery will be working with Qdos to determine which other pantos will be “saved.”
And the Daily Mail shouts from the rooftops that DCMS Dowden has saved the panto season!
There are fuller details of Operation Sleeping Beauty in Simon Sladen’s latest article Operation Sleeping Beauty: Pantoland's Kiss of Life?.
Now Qdos produces pantos in 35 theatres throughout the country. Most, but, admittedly not all, are large commercial theatres.
The Really Useful Group, set up by Andrew Lloyd Webber (who, as Lord Lloyd-Webber, sat, until his retirement from the House in 2017, as a Conservative Peer in the House of Lords), owns six West End theatres.
So two of the biggest names in pantomime and theatre generally (and a Conservative supporter both in and out of the House of Lords) have been chosen by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden to be the recipients of governmental largesse, companies which have the reserves to see them through these difficult COVID days, and the little guys, the pantos and theatres which not only entertain their local communities but are at the heart of them, are, yet again, abandoned, thrown to the winds.
Who would ever have believed it?