This year’s Alhambra pantomime has broken box office records, despite audience figures being down on last year’s production.

The 2009/2010 panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, which ended its seven-week run last Sunday, attracted audiences of more than 94,800, compared with more than 98,800 seats taken during the 2008/2009 panto, Cinderella.

Bradford Theatres general manager Adam Renton put lower audience numbers down to the recent snowfall and increased box office takings down to people opting for more expensive seats.

"In times of recession, it’s often the case that if people are paying for a night at the theatre they’ll make it special as it might be their only night out.

With the panto, more people made the choice for the best seats," he said.

"We didn’t lose out on bookings, but I think some people who were waiting until after Christmas to visit the panto decided not to go when the weather turned so bad.

"We cancelled one performance due to snow, when it was thought to be too dangerous to bring people into town, so we had one less performance this year.

"We can get 1,200 to 1,300 people in a night so if it hadn’t been for the snow we’d have had nearly 96,000 customers."

Mr Renton declined to reveal how much Jack and the Beanstalk had made, but confirmed it was more than £1 million.

"Considering the current economic climate and the bad weather, I think this is a tremendous achievement," he said. "We will continue to work hard this year to present the next top quality pantomime and to make our panto accessible for all."

Produced by Qdos Pantomimes, Jack and the Beanstalk starred Alhambra stalwart Billy Pearce - in his 11th panto at the theatre - and Leeds actress Gaynor Faye, and featured illusions, a circus show and a live pantomime cow. The show drew audiences from as far as Edinburgh and Torquay. Most visitors came from around West Yorkshire, with 43per cent from Bradford district.

Bradford Theatres continued to make performances accessible, with ticket prices starting at £7.50 and family tickets from £30.

More than 19,000 seats have already been booked for the 2010/11 panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - and there are no prizes for guessing who’s the star. Bradford’s favourite funnyman Billy Pearce will be back in the show, running at the Alhambra from December 18.