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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Davidson axes panto musicians
Jim Davidson in The Generation Game
Jim Davidson said he "sympathised" with the musicians
Comedian Jim Davidson faces picketing by musicians after claims he banned them from his pantomime.

The Generation Game host is the star attraction and producer of Dick Whittington at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre this year.

But five musicians claim that, for the first time in more than a decade, the traditional band has been banned from the orchestra pit for a pantomime in the city.

Mr Davidson has instead opted for a digital recording of the music he wants for the show.

I have already used musicians to record the music digitally and I am paying them to sit at home

Jim Davidson
Paul McKenna, of the Musicians' Union, said the artists were going to picket some of the shows, when the pantomime opens on 14 December for five weeks.

He explained the artists would have to find new work and it was a tradition that musicians were used at the pantomime and not recordings.

However, Mr Davidson said his show was a "hi-tech heavy rock synthesised show" that could not be reproduced by a "trumpet in a pit".

"This is my show. It will break even at 600,000 - it's an expensive show," he said.

"I have already used musicians to record the music digitally and I am paying them to sit at home.

"I have my musicians and I don't want any more."

He added he sympathised with the musicians and offered an alternative.

"If these musicians stop moaning and give me a call, I could find them work somewhere else," Mr Davidson added.

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See also:

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