Christmas is the perfect time for a good ghost story; the windows are black by 4pm and whispers hang in the air like fog. And where better for an eerie tale than the gothic glamour of London's West End.
Inspired by masters of the macabre Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Frenchman Gaston Leroux created 'Le Fantôme de l'Opéra' a little over a century ago. However, it wasn't until the 1925 Hollywood movie version, starring Lon Chaney, that the public took notice of Leroux's tale of the ghost of the Paris Opera House.
The musical, from the pen of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber (then plain Andrew), opened in London in 1986 and quickly entered the history books with record-breaking runs on Broadway as well as in the West End, winning countless awards and accolades.
With ticket revenues now counted in the billions, 'Phantom' is the most successful entertainment show of all time. Album sales alone top 40 million worldwide. There's even a Lloyd Webber sequel, 2010's 'Love Never Dies' - another hit [you may have to hurry for tickets for that one, though... it's now set to close in August - Ed].
Tickets remain in demand and seats for the Christmas shows have just been released. Tickets for 19th to 31st December 2011 are available now, priced from £20 for balcony side view seats to £75 for the best stalls.