Strictly rules Letitia out of panto date

VIDEO Glamorous Fairy Godmother Letitia Dean is back in Ipswich ready to make the wishes of Suffolk audiences come true as she takes to the stage at the end of this week in Cinderella at the Regent Theatre.

By Andrew Clarke

GLAMOROUS Fairy Godmother Letitia Dean is back in Ipswich ready to make the wishes of Suffolk audiences come true as she takes to the stage at the end of this week in Cinderella at the Regent Theatre.

Letitia is throwing herself into rehearsals after bowing out of the Strictly Come Dancing quarter finals at the weekend.

Letitia has been a runaway success in the BBC's hugely popular ballroom dancing competition and she said today: “I've had the time of my life. I tell you what I've never been so fit.”

She praised her dancing partner Darren Bennett for coaching her through the competition.

“I couldn't have done it without him,” she said.

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And although she admitted she was “shattered” after three months on the dance floor and only finished recording a Christmas special on Monday, she was looking forward to getting stuck into the panto.

“It's more spangles and sparkles,” she joked.

Director Richard Cadell said they were intending to adapt the script a little bit to reflect on Letitia's success in the BBC competition. He added they were also planning to give Cinders herself a magical transformation scene.

“Normally when Cinderella gets ready to go to the ball she normally goes off stage for a quick change - we are giving her a real quick change as she goes from rags to a sparkling ballgown in 30 seconds flat centre stage. It's a fantastic illusion that we are putting into the show.”

Letitia said because of her continuing commitments to Strictly Come Dancing she will be forced to miss the two performances on Saturday December 22 but that will be her only absence from the panto fun.

Theatre manager Hazel Clover said ticket holders for the December 22 performances can exchange their tickets for another night if they particularly wanted to see Letitia Dean. The role of the Fairy Godmother will be taken by understudy Amy Lee for that one day.

But, she revealed today that once the performances in Ipswich come to an end on January 6, she will be donning her dancing shoes once more to take part in Strictly Come Dancing Live - going out on a nationwide tour with Zoe Ball, Matt Di Angelo, Darren Gough, Denise Lewis and Louisa Lytton.

The celebrities will be pitting their new skills against judges Len Goodman and Arlene Philips. The event is being hosted by Kate Thornton.

Cinderella starts its run at the Ipswich Regent on Friday .