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Soap star Samantha Womack signs up for a leading role in Canterbury panto

By Alex Claridge

Eastenders star Samantha Womack heads the cast for the next pantomime at the Marlowe Theatre, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in the BBC one soap opera, the 40-year-old will play the Good Fairy alongside experienced panto actor Jo Parsons as Jack.

Actor Ben Roddy and CBeebies Phil “Mister Maker” Gallagher also join the cast list.

Writer, producer and director Paul Hendy said: “Once again, I am pleased and proud to say that Canterbury will have a top-quality, highly-talented cast of performers and I’m sure Jack And The Beanstalk will prove one of the most popular shows ever.

“Last year’s production Sleeping Beauty attracted a record-breaking 85,000 people and the way things are looking now that casting for Jack is complete, I am sure we can beat this.”

Samantha, who used to be called Janus, is filming the lead role of Tanya in Sky comedy Mount Pleasant.

Phil Gallagher has worked in children’s TV for 15 years as a writer, actor and presenter.

Phil, who comes from Gillingham and went to Canterbury Christ Church University, has appeared in several pantomimes. He will play Jack’s brother Billy.

Canterbury-based actor Ben Roddy has gained thousands of fans as the funnyman in four previous pantomimes in the city. This year he plays Dame Trot.

Comedian Lloyd Hollett was popular last year at The Marlowe and will be back again, this time as the comic baddie Dr Fleshcreep.

Another name familiar to Marlowe panto audiences is Gemma Sutton, who played Wendy in Peter Pan at The Marlowe Theatre Arena in 2009/10. This year she will play the Princess, and comes to Canterbury following a national tour of Hairspray.

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