Back at the Pavilion: Why sprightly Mike, 95, was show’s special guest

PUBLISHED: 22:50 30 September 2018 | UPDATED: 22:50 30 September 2018

Malcolm (Mike) Howard, a sprightly 95-year-old, is the guest of the honour with Olly Day, Nigel “Boy” Syer and the rest of the cast of the hit Summer laughter Show at Gorleston Pavilion where he once worked. In the “bad old days.”

Malcolm (Mike) Howard, a sprightly 95-year-old, is the guest of the honour with Olly Day, Nigel “Boy” Syer and the rest of the cast of the hit Summer laughter Show at Gorleston Pavilion where he once worked. In the “bad old days.”


The years rolled away and the memories, not all good, flooded back for young-at-heart Malcolm (call me Mike) Howard when he walked into the Pavilion Theatre at Gorleston. Derek James spoke to him.

It was a rather dodgy business going on in the theatre building more than 70 years ago...people were being asked to buy “kits,” put them together at home, and then sell them to make a bit of money.

“There was something funny going on,” said Mike Howard who took on an office job at the Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston, 
while he was searching for work at the end of the Second World War.

He had been a PoW in Italy and Germany and when he returned home times were hard.

Jobs were hard to come by and he ended up working at the former theatre...until the curtain came down on the scam with people losing their money.

There were no laughs in those days but a couple of weeks ago Mike, now a sprightly 95-year-old, was the guest of honour at the smash-hit Summer Laughter Show starring Olly Day and Nigel “Boy” Syer.

And this time around there were laughs a plenty as Olly and Nigel along with Lisa Marie, Andy Pelos and the dancers and singers put on a wonderful traditional British seaside show with a local flavour.

“I thought it was absolutely marvellous and it was lovely to see this old building looking so good after all these years. In my days it was in a mess. A bad time for people,” said Mike, now living in Norwich.

Many years ago he lived at Great Yarmouth and after serving in the Army, and being captured and taken prisoner in North Africa, he returned to Norfolk where, after the unfortunate spell at Gorleston, was appointed the public relations officer at the world famous Mann Egerton company.

He went on to set up his own advertising company in another part of the country before returning to his beloved Norfolk. He is also a talented poet.

“It was lovely to see Mike at the show,” said Olly. “It’s a great theatre to work at and we have all had a brilliant time this summer.”

We are all fortunate to see the grand old building still standing proud. It was nearly demolished in the 1950s when members of Yarmouth Town Council called for the theatre to be pulled down describing the outside as looking like a “mortuary” and the interior as the interior as the “inside of a refrigerator.”

Harsh words indeed. But it survived... thank goodness despite some of their councillors.

They were against plans to build it, landscape the area and put up a bandstand alongside of the best beaches in the land.

Lucky for us the plan was given the green light and the borough engineer, J W Cockrill, designed the Italian-style terracotta building which opened in 1901.

It was occupied by the Army in the First World War and then between the wars it flourished as locals and holidaymakers packed the theatre.

Think of a show and the Pavilion would have put it on...including radio and TV programmes. Remember The Clitheroe Kid and the Harry Worth Show?

This wonderful, traditional, palace of pleasure has survived for over a century presenting show and performances for everybody...and here’s is to the next 100 years.

The Summer Laughter Show is on Tuesday October 2 and the following night features the last performance of the 28-week season when the cast giving their serves for free as all the proceeds go to the Pavilion Theatre Restoration Fund. Expect a 
night of fun-filled surprises. And Olly Day will be back at the 
theatre on Saturday night (October 6) with The Jonathan Wyatt Big Band for a night of music and comedy.

More details on these and all the other shows coming up call the box office at 01493 662832 or click on

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