Two of the biggest stars in pantomime have tested positive for Covid-19.
Writer, star and legendary dame Berwick Kaler and his long-term sidekick Martin Barrass have both contracted the virus.
We reported earlier that they had stepped back from their roles in Dick Turpin Rides Again at the Grand Opera House in York while awaiting the results of the tests.
Today the theatre confirmed that both were positive.
For Martin, it means the end of his run in the show, which ends on Sunday (9 January). His role as Dunkin Donut will be taken by understudy Paul-James Corrigan.
Berwick will be out up to and including Saturday’s shows. His role as Dotty Donut has been taken by another experienced panto dame Alan McHugh.
That holds out the chance that Berwick could be back for the final two shows of the run, the matinee and evening performances on Sunday. But that won’t be known until the day itself.
A Grand Opera House spokesperson said: “Unfortunately two of the pantomime’s cast members, Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass, have tested positive for Covid.
“However, Grand Opera House is delighted to say that the show will go on with the help of another great dame, Alan McHugh, a Scottish actor, comedian and writer fresh from his role as Dame Bella Buchan along with Paul-James Corrigan who played Boabby in The Beauty and The Beast at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen.
“Alan is best known for his roles in television shows such as Taggart, Take the High Road, Limmy’s Show, and Rab C. Nesbitt.
“He will be playing the part of Dolly Dohnut and Paul-James Corrigan will take over the role of Dunkin Donut previously played by Martin Barrass.
“Grand Opera House would like to thank audiences for their continued support and understanding.”