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Bafta nominee Samuel West, star of Channel 5 show All Creatures Great and Small, agrees role with Stamford Gilbert and Sullivan Players





A well-known actor from stage and screen is set to raise the profile of a local amateur theatrical group after agreeing to join its ranks.

Bafta award nominee Samuel West has agreed to become honorary patron of Stamford Gilbert and Sullivan Players after an invitation from its director Ruth Palmer.

Samuel, son of acclaimed actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales, is also a well-regarded theatre director and narrator.

Samuel West's love of Gilbert and Sullivan was passed down from his actor dad, Timothy West
Samuel West's love of Gilbert and Sullivan was passed down from his actor dad, Timothy West

“I was delighted to be approached by the Stamford Gilbert and Sullivan Players recently, and very happy to accept their kind offer to become an honorary patron,” he said.

“The tradition of non-professional performance in this country is one I have a lot of time for.”

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He added: “These great works have become part of the musical fabric of this country, and, increasingly, the world.

Stamford Gilbert and Sullivan Players last year performed The Gondoliers
Stamford Gilbert and Sullivan Players last year performed The Gondoliers

“At a time when amateur music-making is threatened by the rarity of music at state primary level and the increasing privatisation of music lessons, the joy Gilbert and Sullivan operas still bring, to audiences and performers alike, must be treasured and renewed.

“I look forward to my first Stamford production, and I wish them every success with it.”

To many, Samuel is perhaps best-known for his television roles, most recently as enigmatic vet Siegfried Farnon in Channel 5’s remake of All Creatures Great and Small, which inspired Ruth to contact his agent.

Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera was first performed in Stamford exactly 100 years ago
Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera was first performed in Stamford exactly 100 years ago

“In every episode of All Creatures Great and Small, he hums, whistles or sings a line from Gilbert and Sullivan,” she explained.

“To those of us who are all avid fans, it's such a lovely thing to listen out for, name the song and show and then, of course, sing along to.

“We were musing over who we could approach in a committee meeting and his name came up, so I emailed and the rest is history.

“We are totally thrilled and honoured that he has agreed.”

The programme for the 1924 production with renowned composer and conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent featuring in the credits
The programme for the 1924 production with renowned composer and conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent featuring in the credits

Samuel inherited his love of Gilbert and Sullivan from his dad, and used this inspiration to help build Siegfried’s character.

“I’m a good whistler, so when bits of Gilbert and Sullivan suggested themselves to a scene, I asked our lead director Brian Percival if I could put one in,” he explained.

The actor will add another iconic series to his CV when he takes on the role of Time Lord Morbius from the world of Doctor Who in a Big Finish audio adventure.

The Stamford troupe are hoping to welcome Samuel in person to their next production - Ruddigore – for which rehearsals begin next month.

It will be exactly 100 years since they first performed it here, as the Stamford Operatic Society.

The 1924 production was conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent, the society’s musical director at the time before he went on to make his name as a renowned conductor and composer.

This centenary performance was arranged by happy coincidence after the group’s production team decided to postpone the scheduled 2024 production of Yeomen of the Guard in favour of Ruddigore to better suit its younger performers.

The run takes place at the Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre from Thursday, October 10 to Saturday, October 12.

To book and for more details, visit https://www.stamfordcornexchange.co.uk/ruddigore/ or call 01780 766455.

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