Former Red Coat Philip

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PHILIP Amato started out in the business as a red coat at Butlins in Bognor Regis. He’s delighted now to be back in the town for panto, starring at PC Ping Pong in Aladdin And His Magical Lamp at Bognor’s Regis Centre (December 11-January 3).

“I loved every minute of it”, says Phillip. “It was great getting paid to entertain people and to talk to people and to be nice to people and work with some great acts. I just loved working with the public. Just putting on that red coat was lovely.”

As an 18-year-old, Phillip had travelled around America and then he saw an advert for red coats in The Stage: “I sent off my CV and I got the job.”

Phillip has gone on to become TV presenter with Viva TV’s Live And Unplugged and has this year worked at festivals including Glastonbury. He has presented with acts including Chico, Ray Quinn and Stephen Mulhern.

As for panto, this is his second year. He was PC Ping Pong in Epsom last year and is pleased to come back to the role now.

“Last year I was really nervous, but when I got the chance to do it again, I just leapt at it. I had always wanted to do panto as a presenter.”

He suspects that there is a significant cross-over between the two disciplines - a cross-over which brings you to the heart of what performing, whatever the medium, really ought to be about.

“It’s about being sincere and genuine. If you have got that as an actor or a presenter or a performer or whatever, then I think you have got all the ingredients that you need. It’s all about being natural. If you do that, then you’ve got the ingredients to succeed.”

Aladdin And His Magical Lamp is at the Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis from December 11-January 3. Tickets on 01243 861010.