'From Dad to Dame': Panto star's inspired new book

Daniel Hanton with his Dame Daddy book.

Daniel Hanton with his Dame Daddy book. - Credit: Alan Lyall

A Bradwell father has penned and illustrated his latest children's book, inspired by his renowned role as a pantomime Dame.

In a case of art imitating life, graphic designer and author Daniel Hanton has released the 28-page rhyming story Dame Daddy ahead of his eagerly-anticipated return to the stage this festive season.

He will return to Beccles Public Hall next month, where he has previously taken on the roles of panto Dames Widow Twankey in Aladdin and Nurse Nellie in Robin Hood.

Father to seven-year-old Gracie and three-year-old Elsie, Mr Hanton's new book follows on from the success of his first offering Beside the Seaside - a story created from his career as a Punch and Judy puppeteer.

He said: "I couldn't have imagined the success of that.

"It's still selling in Jarrolds in Norwich and a toy museum in London.

"I always wanted to write a book about pantomime as it's my second love after Punch and Judy and I wanted it to be about the panto Dame because as far as I know there is no children's storybook out there like this.

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"When my eldest goes to school she tells people her Daddy is a Dame and lots of the children don't know what that is.

"Others who go to a pantomime perhaps think the Dame is a woman.

"I wanted to put it out there that it's an actor who is dressing up to be funny and make people laugh."

The story follows the story of a Daddy who begins his day doing familial tasks such as getting up and having breakfast, before ending his transformation into a Dame for a pantomime performance.

Full of bright, colourful illustrations, the book took a month to complete between working full-time, completing freelance illustration work and being a father.

Mr Hanton said: "With both books I've created the illustrations first and the words came afterwards.

"The main reason I wanted to write it was to have something for my girls to keep and hopefully pass to grandchildren eventually.

"My ambitions in life were to become a Punch and Judy man, which I can tick off now; to be a pantomime Dame, which I can also tick off; and to be a children's author and illustrator.

"I've achieved my dreams and I feel so incredibly lucky."

Dame Daddy is available to buy on Amazon, Etsy and from Beccles Books, as well as from the foyer during this year's run of Snow White at Beccles Public Hall, where Mr Hanton will be playing Nurse Nelly Ellingham from December 18 to January 3.

Daniel Hanton, playing Nurse Nelly Ellingham, and Faye Ainley, playing Snow White, outside Beccles Public Hall

Daniel Hanton, playing Nurse Nelly Ellingham, and Faye Ainley, playing Snow White, outside Beccles Public Hall - Credit: Ryan Holt