Blue star Simon Webbe and Wellingborough stars Ashleigh and Pudsey star in Royal & Derngate pantomime

Simon Webbe, Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey
Simon Webbe, Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey

Music and theatre star Simon Webbe leads the cast of this year’s spectacular family pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate alongside Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey, from Friday 9 to Saturday 31 December.

Simon Webbe, who will play the title role of Jack Trott, is best known for being a member of the chart-topping boy band Blue.

Between 2005 and 2009 the band took a break, which saw Simon launch his own solo albums and singles. Simon’s career has also seen him take to the West End stage in Sister Act the Musical, alongside Shelia Hancock and Whoopi Goldberg and Three Little Pigs at the Palace Theatre.

His numerous television appearances include Strictly Come Dancing where he was a runner-up in the 2014 series, I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!, and ITV2’s The Big Reunion.

Last Christmas he made his pantomime debut opposite Christopher Biggins in Aladdin.

Playing Princess Apricot is Wellingborough-born Ashleigh Butler and her canine sidekick Pudsey, who rose to fame after winning the sixth series of Britain’s Got Talent.

Since then they have presented two series of their own TV show for CBBC, Who Let the Dogs Out, appeared on American television shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, America’s Got Talent, Good Morning America and E! News, and released Pudsey: My Autobidography - which sold-out within three days.

A shorter version of the book, A Pup Story, was released for younger fans, which was accompanied by a book-tour across the country.

In 2014 Pudsey the Dog: The Movie was released and screened in 400 cinemas across the UK, with Pudsey being given his voice by David Walliams. Alongside their many appearances on screen,

Ashleigh and Pudsey are no strangers to the stage, having starred in pantomimes for the past four Christmas seasons.

Executive producer of Jack and the Beanstalk Jonathan Kiley said: “We are delighted to announce that Simon, Ashleigh and, of course, Pudsey, will be starring in this year’s pantomime in Northampton.

“Jack and the Beanstalk will feature a fabulous live band, spectacular special effects and with Simon’s stunning vocals and Ashleigh and Pudsey’s much-loved routines it’s guaranteed to be a magical Christmas treat for the entire family.”

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Royal & Derngate, added: “Christmas is a very special time of year, when many children are introduced to theatre for the first time through pantomime.

“After the huge success of Cinderella last year, we look forward to welcoming audiences of all ages to Royal & Derngate this Christmas, as we reach new heights with our truly spectacular panto!”

Jack and the Beanstalk, which replaces the previously advertised Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, will be staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer, and the company behind the theatre’s previous record-breaking productions of Cinderella and Peter Pan.

Jack and the Beanstalk features the Royal and Derngate’s hallmark of outstanding entertainment for theatregoers of all ages.

Tickets, priced from £11 to £30*, can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or by visiting www.royalandderngate.co.uk.