Jan Hunt

Jan with Nigel Ellacott

Jan Hunt, one of the leading Pantomime Principal Boys in pantomime began her career as a professional juvenile, playing Boy Babe in “Babes In The Wood” with Jimmy Jewell and Ben Warris at the Empire Theatre Newcastle in 1952. In these days she appeared as June Gaynor.

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IBY’s Media Section has a recording of Jan talking about this pantomime, and her career.

Part 1 7.5 minutes (WAV File 4.98MB) Part 2 13 minutes (WAV File 8.26MB) - Requires Windows Media Player

An astonishing Fifty-Six years in the “business”, Jan is currently touring in “Magic Moments”, a 1950’s musical production alongside her “Crackerjack” co-star, Don McLean.

Jan with Don McLean

A regular performer with The Players Theatre, Jan has her own Music Hall Company- “The Paper Moon Theatre Company”, as well as her children’s show “The Teddy Bears Picnic” on tour. “Paper Moon” has played all over the United Kingdom, as well as the McPherson Playhouse in Vancouver.

Jan has appeared in over thirty-nine pantomimes. She began as Boy Babe, then Fairy, became Principal Girl, and then Principal Boy-appearing as Prince Charming, Aladdin and every other “boy” role, and most recently as Fairy in “Dick Whittington”, “Babes In The Wood” and in “Cinderella”. She has appeared with many comedians including Morecambe and Wise and Ken Dodd, Les Dawson and Terry Scott.

Bath - 1984

Her Panto engagements have taken her from Aberdeen to Southampton, from Lincoln to Regent’s Park, and most especially the Wimbledon Theatre where she has appeared most often.

Jan in her dressing room - Wimbledon

During the 1960’s Jan teamed up with Helen Wulson as “Jan and Kelly”, an act with singing and comedy. Together they toured the world, and played a six month season at London’s Windmill Theatre, before leaving for Australia with “The Windmill Revue”.

Australia led to twice weekly television appearances- during their seven year double act they played venues, made recordings and continued making television appearances until 1968.jan’s recording contract was  with Phillips, and she and Kelly got to number 28 in the UK charts with “Oh, he didn’t!”, followed by “Oh, I can’t!”

Once back in Britain Jan did her first pantomime for Paul Elliott- “Goldilocks” at the New Theatre Hull.

Hull (68/69)

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Jan will always be known as “The Crackerjack Girl”, after her six years appearing on the popular BBC children’s show alongside Peter Glaze, Don McLean, and Ed “Stewpot” Stewart, as well as Bernie Clifton. Over the years Jan appeared in many disguises as each week the programme would feature a new sketch- from Queen Victoria to Mrs Hitler, the make up and wardrobe department of the BBC created a new look for her every week!

SOME CRACKERJACK CREATIONS

 

The BBC Website has a few clips of “Crackerjack” from the 1970’s, including part of a sketch with Jan as “Doris Karloff” opposite Peter Glaze as “Fattum Of The Opera!”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/classic/crackerjack/videoclips/index.shtml

Jan recently toured in Paul Elliott’s new comedy, “There’s No Place Like A Home”, and has appeared as Edith in “’Allo ‘Allo” with Gorden Kaye, with Terry Scott in “A Bedful Of Foreigners”, as well as tours and seasons playing  in “Move Over Mrs. Markham”, “Cowardy Custard”, “Once More Darling” and “Touch And Go”, and as Mrs. White in “Cluedo”.

Jan appeared in the title role in “The Life Of Marie Lloyd” at London’s Players Theatre, and was a regular on BBC’s long running show “The Good Old Days” from The Famous City Varieties, Leeds.

Jan with the late Jack Tripp

West End seasons include “Come Spy With Me”, with Danny La Rue at the Whitehall Theatre, and a two and a half year run at  London’s Adelphi Theatre as “Ellie” in “Showboat”, alongside Dame Cleo Laine and Lorna Dallas. She appeared as “Mollie Ralston” in “The Mousetrap” at The St. Martin’s Theatre for a year. She has appeared in the hit comedy “Run For Your Wife!” as Mary Smith at The Criterion Theatre, and repeated this role for two seasons in Canada.

Jan’s proudest presentation is her son, Damian Hunt. Like his mother, Damian made an early entrance into theatre, when, aged three, he appeared with Jan in Ian Liston’s Music Hall, described as “Our newest newcomer, Master Damian Hunt”. Damian has joined his mother on stage several times since then, and followed a career in television. He recently completed the lead role in the feature film “Earthquake- Nature Unleashed”.

Jan with Fern Britton - Southampton Copyright - James Newell

Peter and I have worked with Jan in her role as Prince Charming and as Fairy Godmother for five pantomimes altogether, and look forward very much to the next time! Both as “Boy” and as “Fairy” she is a shining example of exactly what it is that makes the perfect pantomime performer- style, energy, experience and a total belief in what she is doing, and total dedication to the art form that is Pantomime!

Croydon - 1991 - Photo Supplied by Jan Hunt

Back Row - Left to right Peter Robbins, June Brown, Ed Stewart, Jan Hunt, Cheryl Taylor, Windsor Davies and Nigel Ellacott

Front row: Andrew O'Connor and Amanda Bairstow.

Copyright - Croydon Cast Photo: D.C.Thompson & Co.Ltd (E.Huxtable).

 

This page was last updated 4th May 2008

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