Page last updated at 10:30 GMT, Thursday, 15 October 2009 11:30 UK

Pamela Anderson to star in panto

Pamela Anderson
Anderson, seen here at the 1999 World Music Awards, will play the Genie

Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson is to make her pantomime debut as the Genie of the Lamp this Christmas.

The actress and model, best known as CJ Parker in Baywatch, will appear as a guest star in Aladdin for two weeks at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London.

Chat show host Paul O'Grady will assume the role for the final week of the run, his first panto appearance since 2005.

The New Wimbledon Theatre previously signed Happy Days star Henry Winkler to play Captain Hook in 2006.

Kevin Wood, who booked Anderson for this year's show, said it had not been difficult to persuade her to take part.

"Oddly enough, the Americans actually get the notion of panto quite easily," he told BBC Radio Five live.

"Panto is one of those situations where people who are used to it don't give it the respect that it really deserves.

HOLLYWOOD DOES PANTO
Henry Winkler as Captain Hook
Henry Winkler - Captain Hook, Wimbledon, 2006 (pictured)
Mickey Rooney - Baron Hardup, Sunderland, 2007
Stefanie Powers - Fairy Godmother, Southampton, 2008
Guy Pearce - Buttons, Preston, 1989
Patrick Duffy - Baron Hardup, Woking, 2006
Sir Ian McKellen - Widow Twankey, London, 2005
Britt Ekland - Fairy Godmother, Stoke-On-Trent, 1999
Danny Kaye - Buttons, Sydney, 1950s

"When you introduce it to new people, and they come and experience it, and they see the audiences, and see how loved as an artform it is, they get it straight away," he added.

Newspapers have speculated that Anderson will be paid the mimimum Equity wage for her role. Asked about her fee, Mr Wood simply said: "We won't discuss that".

The actress will appear on stage from Sunday 13 December to Sunday 27 December.

Different actors will play the genie for the first and final weeks of December, but these castings are yet to be announced.

Brian Blessed will head the core cast in the role of panto villain Abanazar.

O'Grady said: "I am really excited to be back in panto this year having not done one for some time.

"This is also the first time I'll be playing a goodie as I've been the villain in most of my other stage roles.

Having made a living frightening children it's probably time I aired my softer side. If I can find one in time."



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SEE ALSO
Pantomimes bounce through recession
17 Dec 08 |  Business
The Fonz hooks himself panto role
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Stephen Fry cast in Norwich panto
04 Sep 08 |  Entertainment
Panto's strange star attraction
10 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Actor Rooney to make panto debut
15 Jun 07 |  Wear

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