COLOURFUL characters from Toy Town were just a few of the star attractions at the 17th Hereford Gang Show.

This year's production, over seven nights at The Courtyard Theatre, involved a cast of 96 people with beavers, cubs and scouts from the city and surrounding villages leading the way.

The theme for the show was 'On Time' with a variety of sketches and songs marking the past 100 years of technological advancement.

Highlights included dramatic pieces depicting the two world wars, while the magic of musicals also featured heavily.

Songs from Les Miserables, South Pacific, Whistle Down the Wind and a host of others entertained the packed crowds, with audience figures climbing over the 2,500 mark across the seven performances.

This year was especially memorable for one Arthur Taylor-Edwards, who has starred in every Gang Show performed in the city.

This time around the 68-year-old took the role of Father Christmas in a Winter Wonderland extravaganza.

Preparation for the show started six months ago, and the enormous cast aside, more than 60 people helped behind the scenes.

As a 'Red Scarf' production, Hereford plays a pioneering role in the way such shows are performed throughout the UK and representatives from scout organisations from as far afield as Glasgow and Exeter came to see what the fuss was all about.

And to emphasise the scale of the whole thing, a staggering 1,000 costumes were worn, nearly 7,000 cups of tea were brewed and 8-9,000 glasses of squash consumed.

"The idea is to get everybody involved. There are no auditions and anyone can take part, no matter whether they can sing, dance or tell a joke," said David Owen, Hereford Gang Show chairman.