Why life is Grand for star of TV Downton

A RISING star of one of Britain's most popular television dramas will be treading the boards in Doncaster again this weekend.

Doncaster-born Thomas Howes, who plays footman William in the ITV country house series Downton Abbey, has agreed to lend his support to the campaign to bring the Grand Theatre in Trafford Way back to life.

He will be taking part in the variety show Twice Nightly on Saturday evening at Doncaster Civic Theatre.

Thomas, who is already signed up to appear in the second series of Downton and a Christmas special later this year, is a product of the Doncaster Little Theatre and 2-Act theatre company.

He recently returned home to take a part as the dame in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Little Theatre.

And this week he confirmed he would do a turn for Twice Nightly although exactly what is going to be a surprise.

It is the third year Twice Nightly has been put on to generate funds for the Friends of the Grand Theatre and it is a firm favourite among South Yorkshire theatre-goers who appreciate a fast-paced evening of music, laughter, song - and a few surprises.

"It's wonderful that he has found time to come and support us but he has always found time for the theatre in Doncaster," said Friends spokesman Margaret Herbert.

"He's such a nice lad and we believe he's going to go a long way in showbusiness."

Acclaimed tenor Leroy Vickers will be wowing the Twice Nightly audience with a selection of classical, opera and theatrical ballads.

Joining Leroy will be Doncaster Amateur Operatic Society, who hope to dazzle the audience with excerpts from their forthcoming production of Hot Mikado.

Then fast-forward to the Sixties as artiste Lori Le Verne pays tribute in both song and breathtaking costume to the unique talent of the great Dusty Springfield.

There's barely time to catch your breath before the Nellie Stagles Dancers join up with Ray Smithurst to pay tribute to comedian Charlie Chaplin.

Another tribute act sees Pam Claybourn recapture the unique wit and charm of poet Pam Ayres.

Compered by showbiz writer Phil Penfold, Twice Nightly's packed programme also features Barry Calvert, performing hit songs from the 1960s,

Tickets priced just 10 are available from the box office, phone 01302 342349, or visit www.doncastercivic.co.uk.