Gavin Mitchell has always stood out in his comic roles for the brilliantly written Kings Theatre panto in Glasgow. But what a tough gig the Still Game barman had this year, when he was asked to fill the Doc Martens of Gerard Kelly, who died suddenly aged 51, almost before the curtain rose for the season. Kelly was the King's panto, as big a star as Stanley Baxter and Jack Milroybefore him - and as much a Scottish institution too. His catch-phrase "Hiya Pals" was carried on from Milroy and in this interview for Theatre News, Mitchell said he would continue it, as a tribute. I went to Snow White with my family yesterday and his character - Muddles the Jester - changed the wording slightly, presumably having read the mood of the cast and audience over the season. Mitchell has a difficult tightrope to walk. You have a theatre full of excited Brownie packs, extended families and works outings all looking for good cheer...but painfully aware that a star has gone out. How to you reconcile the frivolity of panto with the reality of death? Mitchell didn't ignore it - referring to Kelly and his loss at the start of the show and repeating some of his famous lines by reminding the audience that "our very dear friend" had said them first. He even did so with the gag about the white feather that pops up to get the audience out of their seats for the sing-a-long. (The ladies will remember the adult punch line...) Before the final curtain, Mitchell, in Kelly's trademark lavy brush style wig, stepped forward to dedicate the performance to the great man, as he must have done dozens of times since Snow White opened. There were lumps in throats. But it was the right approach, paying homage then getting on with what Gerard Kelly would have wanted: the ritual celebration of Glaswegian silliness, self-deprecation and patter. We all laughed - and cried a bit too.