“It’s behind you” – Beloved Bob Golding bids a fond farewell to Arena panto
- Credit: Pamela Raith
Year on year, he’s been the highlight of the annual St Albans pantomime, with his inimitable charm, hilarity and unique talent.
But now he is bowing out of the Alban Arena festive performance to focus on new opportunities.
Last year would have been Bob Golding’s tenth panto in the cathedral city but the entire run of Mother Goose was necessarily scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
The news of his departure will come as a devastating blow to the many theatregoers who flock to the venue every winter for Bob’s charismatic genius - which followers have been looking forward to even more this year as lockdown eases.
Bob said: “I guess it’s an actor’s prerogative to keep fresh and hope for a large degree of variety in their career and by moving now, I can hopefully keep things as exciting as they have been for the last decade.
“I am a huge fan of St Albans. I love it with all my heart. It genuinely irks me to leave. This is very much farewell and not goodbye. Think of it more as a ‘ta-ta for now’, as in old wartime speak.”
Bob’s good friend and panto comedy duo sidekick Ian Kirkby will appear in Evolution’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which runs in St Albans from the beginning of December to the start of January.
The 50-year-old legend regularly appears on television and radio and was highly acclaimed in his sensational one-man performance in award-winning theatre show Morecambe, which also took him to The Royal Variety Performance stage.
In February, Bob made The Sun newspaper with his TikTok video, and notched up around a million views, in which he revealed himself as the voice actor of Milo and Max in CBeebies’ classic preschool programme Tweenies.
He will continue to support the struggling Civic Centre venue as patron and was recently made official ambassador for Home-Start Hertfordshire, based in St Albans, which helps young families providing social assistance.
Bob is a keen campaigner for the arts and lobbied alongside fellow industry efforts to save what he describes as “life-giving essential culture”, when COVID-19 threatened to destroy theatres, livelihoods and audience enjoyment.
Before the pandemic, the married dad-of-four moved house, out of St Albans after a long period of living here. He is now booked to feature this Christmas in an as-yet undisclosed theatre closer to his new boat home. Keep an eye out online for an exciting announcement soon.
Bob added: “My departure from the Arena stage is tinged with sadness but as actors, we always aim to be diverse and I feel it is time to move on to other opportunities.
“I have always loved the city of St Albans and will take my extremely fond memories with me. Of course, I will miss all the wonderful staff and incredible family audiences who have been amazing.
“I am going to proudly remain patron, as the Arena and city are extremely important to me and they always all will be. My links, roots and loyalty to St Albans will continue to be one of my driving forces.”
Bob was nominated for ‘best actor’ for his Morecambe theatre tour, which won a Lawrence Olivier Award. He won ‘best supporting actor’ for his Dandini role in Cinderella at the Great British Panto Awards.
His work includes a lead role as Eric Morecambe in ITV Tommy Cooper biopic Not Like That, Like This, an EastEnders cameo as Bianca’s geeky date Colin on the epic BBC soap and he appeared in the well-loved ITV drama Mr Selfridge.
For more information about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Arena, and for future pantomimes starring Bob, check out the theatre website, or find Evolution Pantomimes on Twitter or Bob (@Bobsickle).
Thanks so much for the good times, Bob – you will certainly be missed and we wish you well.