THE stars of hit comedy Still Game are set to save Christmas for thousands of children after the cancellation of panto season, by shooting an al-fresco festive film.

Unable to tread the boards indoors, comedy stars Jane McCarry and Mark Cox will instead film a pantomime on the streets of Inverclyde for disappointed kids.

The pair, who played Isa Drennan and Tam Mullen in the long-running Scottish comedy, will lead a cast featuring River City star Jimmy Chisholm in the unique project to be released to schoolkids and care homes for free.

Cast had been scheduled for a four week run of Cinderella at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock, which was cancelled earlier in the year due to Covid restrictions.

Instead they’ll take part in a three-day £25,000 shoot around the Clydeside town for The Magical beacon Stone written by actor and director David Goodall, to get streamed in December.

Comedy favourite McCarry said: “I suggested we make a film but rather than filming a panto on stage in front of an empty theatre, which would be terrible, that we film it out and about in the streets around the theatre.

“It’s not going to be a pantomime, it’s going to be a fun Christmas film. Christmas must be saved.

“We wanted to do it for the Beacon, because it’s one of the best small theatres in Scotland and they’re all struggling. The views over the Clyde from the rehearsal rooms are incredible, and it’s a great theatre to perform in.

“It’s important for us to get to see each other too, even if it is only for three days. We’ve done the panto at the Beacon for years and I love working in Inverclyde. This would have been my fifth pantomime there, and to not be there at all over Christmas would feel awful. We’ve become like a family.”

Jane has returned to her first profession as a teacher following the cancellation of most of her year’s work, including a Q&A tour about Still Game with fellow cast members of the popular comedy, which finished last year.

The actor is now working at an ASL school in Port Glasgow as well as a college in Stirling.

She said: “We wanted this to be free for people, so there was no question of people not being able to afford it. There’s no better job than the panto, the energy and the fun are incredible. It’s rubbish that we can’t do them this year.”

The interactive film, funded by Inverclyde Council, will encourage participation from kids in keeping with some of the traditions of pantomime.

It will initially be made available to schools and care homes in Inverclyde via the Beacon Arts Centre website, before being made available to the wider public.

Co-star Mark Cox added: “There are elements of pantomime within it. It’s great to be able to do something because the backside is out of the theatre industry at the moment.

“It’s important that we can give something to the kids who come every year.”

Pauline Kane, Beacon director, said: “We are thrilled to be working with our much-loved panto regulars on The Magical Beacon Stone and bringing our work in a new way to the community of Inverclyde and beyond.

"We look forward to the point when we can welcome our audiences back to the Beacon but, while we remain apart, this is a fantastic way for schools and families to come together to enjoy a magical festive experience.

"Just because our audience can’t be with us, doesn’t mean we can’t be with them! We are grateful for the support of Inverclyde Council in bringing this production to the local community.”