THOSE of us of a certain age will remember when Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was a Christmas Day TV staple, and the beloved film has remained a family favourite over the years.

A new production of “the most fantasmagorical musical of all time” - heading for the Alhambra stage next month - features the 1968 film’s much-loved songs by the Sherman Brothers, including Toot Sweets, Truly Scrumptious, Hushabye Mountain and the Oscar-nominated title song, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The show stars West End favourite Adam Garcia as Caractacus Potts, EastEnders star Charlie Brooks as the Childcatcher and former Emmerdale actor Liam Fox as Grandpa Potts.

Adam Garcia stars in the much-loved family showAdam Garcia stars in the much-loved family show (Image: Paul Coltas)

Adam recently had rave reviews as Julian Marsh in Curve and Sadler’s Wells hit production of 42nd Street. He was Olivier Award nominated for his roles as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever and Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me, Kate, and his other theatre credits include Wicked and The War of the Worlds.

Adam’s films include Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express, Coyote Ugly and Riding in Cars with Boys. He was a finalist on ITV’s The Masked Dancer.

Charlie Brooks takes on the role of the sinister Child Catcher - employed by Baron Bomburst, tyrannical ruler of Vulgaria, to find and capture children in the town where they are banned.

Charlie Brooks plays the creepy Child Catcher Charlie Brooks plays the creepy Child Catcher (Image: Paul Coltas)

Charlie has won several British Soap Awards for her role as super villain Janine Butcher in EastEnders. Her other TV credits include Bleak House, alongside Carey Mulligan and Gillian Anderson and Channel 5 crime thriller Lie With Me. On stage, Charlie recently played Ursula in the National Theatre’s West End run of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Her other theatre credits include Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Liam Fox is best known as Dan Spencer in Emmerdale, appearing in more than 1,000 episodes of the Yorkshire soap.

Liam Fox is Grandpa in the family showLiam Fox is Grandpa in the family show (Image: Paul Coltas)

His other TV credits include Stephen Poliakoff’s Dancing on the Edge, Cold Feet, Coronation Street, Clocking Off, At Home with the Braithwaites and Dinnerladies and his theatre work includes Iron at Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

Based on Ian Fleming’s novel for children, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the story of absent-minded inventor Caractacus Potts who restores a broken-down old racing car with the help of his children, Jemima and Jeremy. Soon the family discovers that the car has magical powers, and along with Grandpa Potts and Truly Scrumptious, they embark on a fantastical adventure to far off lands.

Chitty was brought to the cinema by James Bond producer Albert R Cubby’ Broccoli and, with a screenplay by Roald Dahl, was the largest, most expensive musical ever filmed in England. The stage show opened in 2002 as the largest-ever musical in London’s West End. Taking centre stage was the magnificent flying car.

Anyone who has seen the show will know that this four-wheeled diva takes audiences’ breath away as as she rises into the air.

It’s a story we know well - but director Thom Southerland says this new production includes lesser known aspects of the original.

“It’s been over 20 years since Chitty Chitty Bang Bang first premiered at the London Palladium and we’re now bringing a brand-new production of this well-loved story to stage,” says Thom.

“For me, Chitty is like an old friend. I used to watch it as a child and was in fact in the audience at the very first preview of the Palladium production, so it’s a show that has always stuck with me and it now feels very special to be putting my own stamp on it.

“Ian Fleming wrote the book over 50 years ago and this will be an amalgamation of his original story, the film version by Roald Dahl, and the previous stage production.”

Director Thom Southerland in rehearsals Director Thom Southerland in rehearsal. Image: Becky Lee Brun

* Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be familiar to a lot of people coming to see the show - how will you be bringing a fresh look to such a beloved show?

“Although this is a story that is very well-known and loved by audiences, there are also aspects of the original story which are lesser known and which we will be showcasing in our version.

“Of course, our show will still have all the wonderful parts that we remember from the film. Caractacus Potts will still have his bamboo stick to dance to Me Ol’Bamboo, and we’ll be dancing through Scrumptious’s Sweet Factory to Toot Sweets, but we’ll also be bringing something that feels fresh and new within this story and we have even added some new songs.

“One thing we definitely won’t be changing, though, is Chitty herself. She will be as spectacular as ever and I can’t wait to see her take flight.”

* What do you hope the audiences will take away from the production?

“I really hope that when people come to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, they simply enjoy a wonderful evening at the theatre.

“This is a wildly entertaining show which all the family can enjoy. It has beautifully lavish sets and costumes, phenomenal special effects and, in my opinion, one of the greatest musical scores ever written. “

* What’s it like to work on such a huge production?

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be working with this team. We have a phenomenal cast - as led by Adam Garcia in the central role of Caractacus Potts - who are really helping to create a unique retelling of this story on stage.

“I’m also very lucky to be collaborating with the creative team on this show, including Ben Cracknell in lighting, Morgan Large on sets and costumes, our sound designer Gareth Tucker, George Dyer on musical supervision, and Karen Bruce who has been doing wonderful work with the show’s choreography.

“It has been a total joy being in the rehearsal room so far, and it’s been a real collaborative process with the entire team, from the creatives to our incredible cast.”

* Finally, can you describe the show in three words?

“Chitty in three words would be extravagant, joyful and, dare I say, fantasmagorical!”

* Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is at the Alhambra from July 9-14. Call (01274) 432000 or visit