Ann Widdecombe set to quickstep into panto at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft
- Credit: PA
A high-profile former politician will bring plenty of pomp to a leading role in a spectacular family pantomime.
Ann Widdecombe will star as the regal and authoritative Empress of China in the panto Aladdin, which will be performed at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft.
Outspoken and controversial, Ms Widdecombe was MP for Maidstone between 1987 and 1997 and for Maidstone and the Weald between 1997 and 2010.
She is perhaps more recently known for her explosive appearances on Strictly Come Dancing, where despite never being a favourite with the judges, Ann continually defied the odds with her dance partner Anton Du Beke and survived 10 weeks in the competition.
Having also appeared in Celebrity Fit Club, Ann would also become a judge in the series, and in 2005, she fronted her own series, Ann Widdecombe to the Rescue.
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This year Ms Widdecombe lived on a farm in ITV's Sugar Free Farm and experienced life as a Victorian in 24 Hours in the Past (BBC Two).
A prolific author and columnist, Ann has a weekly column in The Daily Express and has written five novels, a detective story and her memoirs, Strictly Ann.
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Ann will be accompanied on stage by pop star Mark Read, from the hit boy band A1, who will play the title character Aladdin in this spectacular family adventure.
Lee Henderson, chief executive at the Marina Theatre, said: 'We're really excited that Ann Widdecombe has agreed to join the cast of Aladdin, to play the impressive Empress of China for us in this year's family pantomime.
'We very much look forward to welcoming her to Lowestoft for what is shaping up to be our most outstanding Christmas season ever.'
Pantomime producer Paul Holman said: 'I am thrilled to have secured Ann and Mark in what is already shaping up to be the biggest Christmas production Lowestoft has ever seen.
'With Ann's charisma and remarkable sense of humour combined with Mark's exceptional vocals and showmanship, not to mention the warmth and fun of returning comic Terry Gleed this year's pantomime production really does have something for everyone.'
Aladdin runs at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft from Wednesday, December 13 to Monday, January 1.
Tickets are on sale now via www.marinatheatre.co.uk or at the box office on 01502 533200.