THE birth of Bournemouth might not sound like the basis of a traditional pantomime, but author Jim Jones appears to have to pulled it off - oh yes he has!

Jim first had the idea for the show when he was working as a tour guide for Discover Dorset. and Bournemouth City Sightseeing Tours.

“The more I learnt about the history of our lovely town, the more I became intrigued with its development as well as the famous people who settled here.”

The local writer says he was particularly fascinated with smuggling which was big business in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

“One of the well-known organisers of the illegal and tax avoiding trade was Isaac Gulliver, who lived in Kinson and is buried in the grounds of Wimborne Minster.

“My imagination was ignited at the idea of smugglers, landowners and local dwellers wanting to give this beautiful town of ours, its own identity. And so ‘A Town is Bourne’ was born!”

The fictional tale about how Bournemouth got its name took over a year to write and would have been over four hours-long.

“Don’t worry,” Jim laughs. “It’s half that length now. The characters’ names I have used are a mix of real family names and fictional ones to spice up the plot and have some fun with our town’s short but fascinating history.”

The plot revolves around a competition with a cash prize to name the developing neighbourhood. And like every good pantomime there’s a love interest where two wealthy young ladies, Elizabeth Tapps-Gervis and Emily Tregonwell, and one evil character, Saffron, are vying for the attentions of the handsome but penniless Perry Winkle. The show also features ten new songs.

n A Town is Bourne at the Shelley Theatre on January 20 -21 with a matinee and evening performance on both dates. Tickets now available online at the or call on 01202 413600.