Cromer launches 34th Seaside Special - with a pledge that the show will go on

It is the last of its breed - a throwback to the glory days of seaside variety shows.

But, as Cromer Pier's 34th Seaside Special was launched in late spring sunshine, there was a feeling that the show will go on - and on.

Some of the stars of this year's show - which begins on June 18 and runs until September 24 - trod the boards on the pier to give a tantalising taste of the unique blend of song, dance and comedy.

The launch coincided with a special day for the pier, which was celebrating its 110th birthday.

Despite being the only theatre in the UK to offer a traditional end-of-pier show during the summer season, producer Sheena Hulme said it still had 'legs'.

She said: 'There's no reason why this show can't go on for many years to come. We like to ensure there is longevity by appealing to all ages.'

She said this year was the first in which the two different Seaside Special's would have separate themes.

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She said: 'We've themed them 'New York City Rhythm' and 'Radio Waves'. If you go to both shows, they will be very different. We've preserved the tradition and what 40,000 showgoers want to see, but we want to make it more youthful, current and contemporary.'

Openwide Coastal manages the pier and its theatre on behalf of North Norfolk District Council. The show has consistently played to more than 90pc capacity audiences.

The shows will feature stars including ventriloquist Steve Howlett, vocalists Rob McVeigh - a finalist from the TV show Any Dream Will Do - and Scarlet Gabriel, plus comedian Paul Adams.

Mr Adams said his wife Kelly had already 'fallen in love with Cromer', and the couple and their children Thomas, two, and one-year-old Lucy were looking to move to the area from their base in Kent.

He said: 'Kelly loves the relaxed way of life up here. And, despite what people say, it's not just a town for older people. It is really a place for everybody.'

He added: 'I'm really excited to be in the shows. I'm particularly excited to be working in an ensemble. I usually end up on my own on stage, but this time I'm signing and dancing - if you can call it dancing.'

With other pier theatres struggling, comedian and former University of East Anglia (UEA) student Arthur Smith, who has performed in pier shows, said it was important to keep the tradition alive.

He said: 'There's something about walking out over the sea to be entertained that's quintessentially British and it would be very sad to see that disappear.'

? For details or tickets, the show guide is at tourist information centres or the pier box office. Alternatively, call 01263 512495, email or visit