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|Phoenix the Calf to be Panto Star
- Foot-and-mouth survivor milks star status
THE CALF who survived foot-and-mouth has been offered UKP100,000 by Britain's biggest panto company. Phoenix, the robust young bovine who rose to fame by escaping the West Country cull, could appear alongside Shane Ritchie in Qdos company's version of Jack in the Beanstalk at Wimbledon Theatre this Christmas.
"We've had lots of offers, from making Phoenix mugs and dolls to representing veterinary drugs," says Philip Board, the farmer who hand-reared the calf. He says he is still considering the proposals and hopes to benefit the Green Welly Appeal for West Country farmers with any money raised.
Animals such as the tortoise in Stoppard's Arcadia have never been paid more than equity rates to appear on the London stage. Neither have Wimbledon Theatre's productions (which range from The Witches and Sleeping Beauty to a tribute to Freddy Mercury) ever included an animal. "I just hope Phoenix doesn't upstage Shane Ritchie," says Board.