The Christmas lights are on, the radio waves are jammed with yuletide jingles and the air is heavy with the sweet scent of mulled wine. It can only mean one thing…
Stars of soap, stage, screen and song are hot-footing it to a theatre near you to cross-dress, cover themselves in glitter and throw sweets at children in the name of festive cheer. It really wouldn’t be Christmas without them. (Oh, yes it would!)
“But where can we find our favourite stars?” We hear you cry. Clue: they are not behind you. They are here…
Craig Revel Horwood is Captain Hook
No stranger to the glitz and glamour of local pantomime, Strictly Come Dancing’s acid-tongued judge will put his nasty side to good use this Christmas, playing Captain Hook in Dartford’s production of Peter Pan. If it’s a disaaaaaster, darling, someone will have to walk the plank.
Peter Pan, The Orchard Theatre, Dartford. 12th December – 3rd January
Jerry Hall is the Wicked Queen
Trust Jerry Hall to turn a pantomime villain into something sexy and stylish. The former Strictly Come Dancing contestant is set to play the Wicked Queen in her very first foray into panto-land. Mirror, mirror, on the wall…
Snow White, Richmond Theatre, London. 5th December – 11th January
Duncan James is Jack
It seems Blue’s comeback might not have been as successful as they’d hoped. The foursome will tour the country next year but while Simon Webbe’s foxtrotting on Strictly his bandmate Duncan is poised to embrace some lower-profile sparkle of his own. And he’s not the only one who’s Signed, Sealed and gone all panto. (Yes, he is! Oh no, he isn’t!)
Jack and the Beanstalk, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham. 19th December – 1st February
Antony Costa is Aladdin
This Christmas Antony Costa is putting his financial woes behind him and becoming eager street urchin Aladdin – and he doesn’t look too happy about it, does he? Costa is being joined by former Hollyoaks star Marcus Patrick and X Factor hopefuls Jade Ellis and Kitty Brucknell. Star-studded indeed.
Aladdin, King’s Theatre, Portsmouth. 9th December – 4th January
Shane Lynch is Abanazar
Blue bandmates aren’t the only ageing pop stars embracing the brash, bright world of panto. Lynch – of Boyzone fame – is treading the boards this Christmas as a mean and bearded Abanazar, Aladdin’s nemesis. Jamie Forman (aka EastEnder’s Derek Branning) will be by his side When the Going Gets Tough. Fingers crossed he learns his, er, Words.
Aladdin, The Woodville, Gravesend. 13th December – 4th January
Dallas’ Linda Gray stars in Cinderella
Linda Gray is swapping the Southfork Ranch for south west London – and making her pantomime debut. The 74-year-old soap actress, who played Sue Ellen Ewing in Dallas, is starring in Wimbledon’s Cinderella alongside funny man Tim Vine, Wayne Sleep and Matthew Kelly as an ugly sister.
Cinderella, New Wimbledon Theatre, London. 5th December – 11th January
Alan Fletcher (aka Dr Karl Kennedy) is the Sheriff of Nottingham
Fletcher is no pantomime newbie: the Neighbours actor has starred in many a yuletide show. This year he’ll be gracing the small Bedfordshire town Dunstable and playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood.
Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, Grove Theatre, Dunstable. 12th December – 4th January
Anne Charleston (aka Madge Bishop) is the Fairy Godmother
From Ramsay St to Redditch. Fletcher isn’t the only one getting a bit of British panto action this year. Anne Charleston, who played Madge Bishop in the long-running Ozzie soap, is also taking up the mantle (or, more accurately, the magic wand) to play Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.
Cinderella, The Palace Theatre, Redditch. 8th December – 4th January
Bradley Walsh is in Peter Pan
The Chase host Bradley Walsh – “Milton Keynes’ most popular panto star ever” – is making a triumphant return to the stage this Christmas as Smee. He’ll star alongside Britain’s Got Talent’s street dance crew Flawless in a gang of seriously stylish pirates. Milton Keynes are expecting sell-out shows after Walsh smashed box-office records in 2006’s Cinderella and 2007’s Aladdin, so snap up those tickets fast.
Peter Pan, Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes. 5th December – 11th January
Mark “the beast” Labbett is the evil Abanazar
It’s not just Walsh who’s been offered a starring role this Christmas. The Chase’s Mark Labbett – otherwise known as “the beast” – is also swapping quiz questions for the pantomime stage. He’ll be playing Aladdin’s Abanazar, a role we imagine will come quite naturally to him. Just look at that face. Boo. Hisssssssss.
Aladdin, Civic Theatre, Rotherham. 3rd December – 11th January
TOWIE’s Dan Osbourne is Jack
Dan is saying farewell to the Sugar Hut and heading up north. “I always have a good time when I visit Liverpool so it will be great to spend Christmas there, and I’m hoping lots of my friends and family from Essex will make the trip up north to see me tread the boards,” says Dan. He’ll be starring alongside Thelma Madine, the dressmaker from Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. (Yes, we’re confused too.)
Jack and the Beanstalk, The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool. 11th December – 4th January