Looking forward to magic wands and lots of fairydust

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Hard to believe I know, but with the sun still shining us theatrical people are already turning our attention to Christmas and the panto season.

It’s that time of year when sparkly lights, magic wands and a sprinkling of fairydust will be part of my world (and that of thousands of excited children and their parents) at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.

Working front of house, there’s also the downside of a whole truckload of ice-cream tubs to clear away. But hey, that’s all part of the job.

Pantomime is as traditional a part of the British Christmas as turkey and all the trimmings.

Its roots go back to the early 19th century when some travelling Italian performers used to put on singing and dancing presentations from their carts.

As they developed, they added comedy sketches and became known as Harlequinades because the central character was Harlequin.

Later Joseph Grimaldi, the greatest pantomime clown of all time, turned the panto into the national cult we know and love today.

This year we have a fabulous cast line-up, with Daniella Westbrook, aka Sam Mitchell from EastEnders, playing Fairy Sparkle.

Now I’m especially thrilled that the more mature ladies among us have a bit of ‘eye candy’ to keep us entertained this year, in the form of Tony Adams. You may or may not remember he played the suave charmer Adam Chance in Crossroads.

But I actually remember him as Dr Neville Bywaters in General Hospital long before that.

He had the pulses of me and most of my classmates racing as we all bypassed the chippy on the way home from school just so we could see him and his stethoscope.

So, a word of warning.

If you see someone wearing a burgundy waistcoat swooning in the vicinity of the Kings orchestra pit come Christmas time, having a hot flush and carrying a packet of wet wipes, then can you please just ignore me.

I promise faithfully that I will be over panto fever come January 5 and back to my normal self.

Well, as normal as I can be!