Major cast changes are afoot in the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium this month, ahead of the show’s two-year anniversary in April.

From 16 March 2004, Christopher Biggins and Louise Gold will take over from Victor Spinetti and Sandra Dickinson as Baron and Baroness Bomburst, while Lionel Blair will take over from another renowned British dancer, Wayne Sleep, as the Child Catcher.

Biggins is well known for his TV roles in Bad Girls, Porridge and Rentaghost and was recently seen on stage in Summer Holiday as well as regular pantomime appearances. Gold’s many musical theatre credits include Mamma Mia!, The Pirates of Penzance, Follies, Kiss Me Kate and The Gondoliers.

Also joining the Chitty cast from 16 March are Tony Adams (as Grandpa Potts) and Scarlet Strallen (Truly Scrumptious). Gary Wilmot – who returned two weeks ago after a pantomime break filled for the final five weeks by Australian star Jason Donovan – remains in the lead role of Caractacus Potts.

The musical is adapted by Jeremy Sams with original music by the Sherman brothers. It's directed by RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, choreographed by Gillian Lynne and designed by Award winner Anthony Ward. The original children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, was written by Ian Fleming.

The £6.2 million stage production, based on the famous 1968 children's film, had its world premiere at the Palladium on 16 April 2002 (previews from 19 March) and is currently taking bookings up to 25 September 2004.

- by Terri Paddock