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The Wind in the Willows - Denise Welch, Gary Wilmot, Craig Mather and Simon Lipkin join cast

Casting news

PRODUCER Jamie Hendry has announced that Denise Welch, Gary Wilmot, Craig Mather and Simon Lipkin will join Rufus Hound and Neil McDermott in the major new musical The Wind in the Willows, which opens at the London Palladium on Thursday, June 29, 2017.

He also announced that previews would begin ahead of schedule on Friday, June 16, as well as unveiling a ticketing initiative where children can see the production for free at 80 performances over the summer.

As previously confirmed, actor, comedian and presenter Rufus Hound will reprise his Manchester Theatre Award-winning performance as the amazing Mr Toad.

He will be joined by West End stars Simon Lipkin as Rat and Craig Mather as Mole, EastEnders actor Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel, Coronation Street and Boy Meets Girl star Denise Welch as Mrs Otter and West End legend Gary Wilmot as Badger.

Simon Lipkin most recently starred in the UK premiere of Honeymoon in Vegas at the London Palladium. His numerous other theatre credits include Avenue Q (Noël Coward Theatre), Rock of Ages (Shaftesbury and Garrick Theatres), I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium), The Lorax (Old Vic), Spamalot (UK and International Tour), The Wedding Singer and Footloose (UK Tour) and Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory).

Craig Mather’s theatre credits include Marius in Les Misérables (West End), Melchior in the German premiere of Spring Awakening, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Harrington’s Pie Shop (West End) and the UK tour of Tonight’s The Night.

Denise Welch is best known for her television roles which include Natalie Barnes in Coronation Street, Steph Haydock in Waterloo Road, Pam McDonald in Boy Meets Girl and Marsha Stubbs in Soldier Soldier. Her theatre credits include Smack Family Robinson (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Steel Magnolias (UK Tour) and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Royal Exchange).

Gary Wilmot first rose to fame as a contestant on New Faces, with presenting credits since then including Showstoppers and So You Want To Be Top. His extensive musical theatre credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre/UK Tour), Oklahoma! (UK Tour), The Pajama Game (Shaftesbury Theatre), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium) and Big (Theatre Royal Plymouth/Ireland).

The confirmed company also includes: Chris Aukett, Joel Baylis, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Abigail Climer, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, Emilie du Leslay, Joshua Gannon, James Gant, Evan James, Michael Larcombe, Bethany Linsdell, Ryan Pidgen, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Natalie Woods.

Based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel which has captivated generations of readers for over a century, The Wind in the Willows has been adapted for the stage with a book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

Tickets will be available from £15, with reduced price preview performances. Kids go free on Monday to Friday performances for tickets booked by May 31, terms and conditions apply. No additional booking fees or charges are applied to tickets booked via

The Wind in the Willows is booking at the London Palladium until Saturday, September 2, 2017.

Read more about The Wind in the Willows.