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You couldn’t wish for a better panto baddie than the star appearing this Christmas in Aladdin at Mansfield Palace Theatre.

Aladdin first became a pantomime in England in 1788 but it was in 1861 when H. J. Byron’s dramatisation established what are now considered as some of the storyline’s key features.

Byron’s changes included Aladdin’s mother being named Widow Twankey and the magician who tries to steal the lamp being called Abanazar.

Philip Martin Brown, best known for playing irritable teacher Grantly Budgen in the BBC TV series Waterloo Road, is looking forward to playing Abanazar in Mansfield Palace Theatre’s production of Aladdin, which runs from November 28-January 3.

He told Chad, “I’m really looking forward to coming to Mansfield this Christmas. I love doing panto because there’s no fooling the kids! If it’s a bad show they’ll let you know, and if it’s great… well, apparently I’ll be deaf!”

Philip is a familiar face on TV after appearing in nine series of Waterloo Road, the drama set in a school.

He has played villains and police officers in television series including Minder, The Paradise Club and City Central. While playing Andy Barras in The Sharp End, he was described as “the best villain since J R Ewing”.

Andrew Tucker, cultural services manager at Mansfield District Council, which runs the Palace Theatre, commented: “it’s really exciting to have a baddie who’ll be known by family audiences of young and old alike.”

The theatre is urging customers who prefer certain performances and seats to book as soon as they can with more than half of tickets already sold. The usual Pay Now Save Now offer runs this year and expires on Saturday, August 29, but tickets must be booked and paid for by this date.

Tickets are £13.84 full, £12.81 for concessions and £47.15 for a family of four. After this date, tickets will revert to the normal prices of £14.86, £13.84 for concessions and £51.25 for a family of four.

All of the above prices include a 2.5 per cent booking fee.

To book, call 01623 633133 or book online at www.mansfield.gov.uk/palacetheatre, mentioning that you saw this article in your local Chad newspaper.