CBeebies Christmas Show 2018 announced as Thumbelina: recording, cinema and TV details

The CBeebies Christmas Show/Pantomime is a much-anticipated part of many young families’ year, with September generally marking the time when the BBC announces which venues will be used for the live recordings.

In previous years, the BBC has operated a ticket ballot system, with growing demand year-on-year, and with tickets often being over-allocated so as to ensure a particular theatre is full to capacity when filming takes place.

Possibly in response to some criticism of this system, this year the CBeebies Christmas Show will have tickets for sale, meaning that once you have secured a ticket, you’re guaranteed a place in the theatre venue, notwithstanding any unexpected circumstances causing the show to be cancelled.

For the first time this year, the BBC has struck a deal with various cinemas to screen the final version of the show, and including additional exclusive content to create an “event” experience. As always, the show will be screened over the Christmas period on CBeebies and the BBC iPlayer.


The classic tale of Thumbelina is told by much-loved CBeebies characters including Justin Fletcher, Maddie Moate, Andy Day and Cat Sandion.

Venues & Dates

The venue for Thumbelina is the Regent Theatre in Stoke, with recordings taking place at 1pm and 4:30pm on both Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November. The theatre has a capacity of 1,700 seats, though not all will be used for each performance.

A dress rehearsal will take place on Friday 2nd November, with free tickets being made available to local groups and charities.

Selected cinemas will show the final recording of Thumbelina from Saturday 15th December.

Thumbelina will be first shown on CBeebies on Saturday 15th December.

Ticket Costs

Tickets for the theatre recordings cost £10 per adult, and $5 per child, with a limit of six tickets per booking. There’s a £1.95 booking fee through the independent ticket vendor ATG.

Cost of cinema tickets to be confirmed.

Ticket Availability

Tickets will go on sale in two batches.

Batch 1 – half the tickets – will go on general sale at 9am on Friday 21st September.

Batch 2 – the other half – will go on general sale at 9am on Friday 28th September.

More theatre tickets may become available closer to the event, once stage plans become closer to being finalised, though this is not guaranteed.

Charging for Tickets

The BBC explains why they have chosen to charge for tickets this year, rather than maintaining the ballot system:

“The CBeebies Christmas Show is a hugely popular event and demand for tickets far outweighs what is available. By charging for tickets this year it allows us to put on more performances, making the experience available to substantially more people. It also means that, unlike previous years, all ticket holders are guaranteed entry.”

It’s clear that demand continued to rise each year since 2014, making the previous system unsustainable:

YearProductionTicket Applications
2017The Snow Queen (Curve Theatre in Leicester)370,000
2016The Nutcracker (The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield)250,000
2015Alice in Wonderland (The Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff)180,000
2014Peter Pan (The Lowry, Salford Quays)149,000

More details

To keep up-to-date with the latest information, visit the official website at www.cbeebieschristmasshow.com. See the Frequently Asked Questions at www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/joinin/dualwa-cbeebies-panto-2018.