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Steps singer Ian H Watkins will take over the lead in the Hazlitt's panto after EastEnders' star Gary Lucy pulls out

By Angela Cole

Former pop singer Ian H Watkins - better known as H from Steps - has stepped in to take the lead in Maidstone's panto this Christmas after EastEnders' Gary Lucy had to pull out.

Blue Genie Entertainment announced last month that Gary was set to star in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Hazlitt in Earl Street this winter.

But it later transpired that rehearsals clashed with the stage show of the Full Monty, in which he will bear all.

Ian H Watkins, who will be in panto in Maidstone this Christmas
Ian H Watkins, who will be in panto in Maidstone this Christmas

Gary Telfer, managing director of Blue Genie, said: "It's a shame that Gary has had to be pulled from the panto. Although we believed we could make it work it became apparent that it just wasn't going to happen. Gary goes with our blessing and best wishes for his national tour and, who knows, hopefully we will see him at the Hazlitt in the future.

"However we are thrilled to be bringing Ian H Watkins to the town this Christmas. Steps are a huge band and have sold over 20 million records worldwide. I think it’s going to be quite spectacular this year - the only band to have had more top ten hits are the Beatles. I really think the people of Maidstone are in for a treat."

TV star Gary Lucy
TV star Gary Lucy

Ian H Watkins is a seasoned actor when it comes to the stage and panto having played roles including Buttons, Silly Billy in Jack and The Beanstalk and Dick Whittington.

He was also the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New London Theatre and played the iconic Childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Ian H Watkins shot to fame as ‘H‘ from the 90s band Steps, which had hits including a cover of the Bee Gees hit, Tragedy.

The Hazlitt Theatre in Earl Street
The Hazlitt Theatre in Earl Street

Gary Roden, managing director of Parkwood Theatres, which runs the Hazlitt, said: "It is simply fantastic for audiences to be getting not only another great pantomime but a star that has so much wide appeal and experience. We’re already practising our Steps dance routines."

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs from Friday, December 5, until Sunday, January 4. 2015. To book call 01622 758611 or visit www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk

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