In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a ... See full summary »



(libretto) (as William S. Gilbert)


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Credited cast:
Valerie Masterson ...
David Hillman ...
Philip Sommerscales ...
Ian Wallace ...
Derek Hammond-Stroud ...
Sara De Javelin ...
Janet Hughes ...
Heather Begg ...
Richard Angas ...
The Mikado of Japan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ambrosian Opera Chorus ...


In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a strolling minstrel who loves the beautiful Yum-Yum. But Yum-Yum is also loved by Ko-Ko, and Nanki-Poo, seeing no hope for his love, considers suicide. Ko-Ko offers to solve both their problems by executing Nanki-Poo, and an agreement is reached whereby Ko-Ko will allow Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum for one month, at the end of which Nanki-Poo will be executed, in time for the arrival of the Mikado. But what Ko-Ko doesn't know is that Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado and has run away to avoid a betrothal to an old harridan named Katisha. The arrival of the Mikado brings all the threads of the tale together. Written by Jim Beaver <>

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Release Date:

28 December 1973 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Version of The Mikado (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

How Gilbert and Sullivan should be done
29 May 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Watching or listening to The Mikado has always been a great pleasure, it is one of Gilbert and Sullivan's best- for me second only to Pirates of Penzance- and one of my favourite operettas. This BBC production is a textbook example of how G&S should be performed, and one of the best I've seen along with the 1984 Stratford production and 1966 film. I have seen more beautiful costumes and sets, but they are charming enough and look authentic. The production is very nicely shot too and the sound is very good. The dialogue and lyrics are intact and really feel and sound like Gilbert and Sullivan, they are also still very funny even if you miss the spontaneity of a live performance. The stage direction is never too complicated but never comes across as dull or distasteful, the comedy is very well pitched and time is taken to help us empathise with the characters and to full effect. The wonderful music is beautifully played by the orchestra, and the chorus also sing with lovely tone and involvement. The conducting keeps things moving while being sympathetic to the stage direction, the finale of the first act is exciting. This is also one of the best-sung productions I've seen, I don't think I can think of anybody who didn't disappoint me.

David Hillman is older than most Nanki-Poos, but he still sings with a youthful ring and has an appealing stage presence without resorting to overacting or underplaying. Valerie Masterson is a contender for my favourite ever Yum-Yum, she brings everything that made her such a pleasure to watch in the 1966 film, personal beauty, genuine femininity, charm, a good subtle sense of comedy, a graceful deportment and also a purely radiant voice that is used musically. Derek Hammond-Stroud delights as Ko-Ko, his comic timing is hilarious and he has one of the lovelier voices for the role, and while the Little List song is a comic gem his Tit Willow rendition is also very touching. Ian Wallace has a very warm voice, and makes for a very likable and roguish Pooh-Bah, in fact I consider Wallace to be one of the most likable in the role there is. Heather Begg's Katisha couldn't be more perfect, her voice is rich, full and very characterfully used and she nails the role's comic, demonic and tragic sides(I really found myself feeling for her and I don't always say that about Katisha); it is also not everyday where somebody is in quite ugly- intentionally- make-up and still look attractive. And I have not heard many Mikados who have had a voice that is so sonorous that it has the effect of just rolling out the mouth with no effort than that of Richard Angas, he is very commanding as well and doesn't forget to bring some fun to the role. The other roles are well filled, and there is a real effort to make the most of what little some of the other roles have to do. All in all, just wonderful and something any G&S will enjoy wholeheartedly, the quality of the performances in particular make it so worthwhile. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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