Could Prince Charming woo voters?

There’s over-acting, booing and ugly sisters aplenty in the House of Commons. So when actor and aspiring politician Adam Rickitt takes the stage at Norwich’s Theatre Royal this Christmas for the lead role in this year’s panto, Cinderella, he should feel right at home. He spoke to Kathryn Cross.

From the cobbles of Coronation Street to the benches of Westminster, Adam Rickitt has been a busy man. In fact he says that since leaving school 10 years ago he has never been out of work. The first audition he ever took was for Nick Tilsley on that ever-popular Wetherfield soap where he made an instant hit, mainly with the female fans, gracing the screen for two years before returning twice in 2002 and 2003.

In the interval he tried a pop career with three hit singles including a number five slot in the UK charts with his first single I Breathe Again.

But for the past few months the 28 year old has been making a name for himself in a very different field - politics.

Recently named as one of David Cameron's controversial A-listers destined to win a safe seat at the next election, he failed to be selected for the shortlist of 20 hopefuls for Folkestone and Hythe, the seat being vacated by former Tory leader Michael Howard.

But, he says, it is still very early days and, although he is reluctant to talk about this new direction, it is clear that he is serious about the job - and hinted that staying in Norfolk beyond the pantomime would not be out of the question should the right seat become available.

"I will keep acting until the next election because there is no guarantee that I will get selected and I still have to pay the bills," he says. "This is a beautiful part of the world. I don't want to be a career politician in Westminster, I want to be in a local community and if I was lucky enough to get selected then that place would be my home full time. So if that was Norfolk that would be lovely and I would move here lock, stock and barrel. But it is up to the selection committees.

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"I am on the priority list for seats that come up. You never know, this could turn out to be a long stay but the party needs to be sure it has the right people in the right seats. The whole thing about being local is important to me - it is the only way I would do it."

It is unlikely any Norfolk seat would be "safe" enough for A-lister Adam Rickitt but he is prepared to take his time and until that political career really takes off he will keep on acting because it allows him plenty of flexibility.

"You are essentially a freelancer and not tied to a desk five days a week. You can pick and choose when you work and what you do. Coronation Street keeps asking me back but although it is great fun you are shackled to it and can't do anything else."

In the meantime he has done countless stage shows and is due to start filming a new thriller soon. He is no stranger to the celebrity reality show either, filming a documentary Alive: Back to the Andes shown earlier this year and then taking part at the last minute in Channel 4 sports contest The Games.

But come December 15 he will be giving his all to the part of Prince Charming at the Theatre Royal for it's five-week run.

"I never thought I would do panto because, although it is great family entertainment, it is not particularly challenging," he said. "But Norwich approached me and they had a very traditional script with a proper orchestra and a proper cast.

"It is not just a money-making scheme it is real entertainment and good fun. And then when I saw Ian McKellan in panto it struck me that it could be a really good idea."

Richard Gauntlett, who has co-written and directed the last four pantomimes at the Theatre Royal, will write and direct Cinderella as well as playing the part of Buttons. Marilyn Cutts stars as the Fairy Godmother with Nigel Nobes and Steve Edwin as the Ugly Sisters.

The show runs until January 20 and tickets cost between £5 and £15.50.

More information from the box office at or 01603 630000.

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