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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 11:45 GMT
Doris the pig's panto break
Panto dress rehearsal
The pigs are put through their paces on stage
Three pigs have been competing with each other during important auditions for a season in pantomime.

The aspiring starlets were trotted through their paces for Dick Whittington at the New Theatre in Cardiff after a stand-in was needed for a sick cat.

Doris, Kylie and Marilyn, the flying stars of the Zurich Insurance television advertisements, were called up to audition for the role after Tommy the Cat fell ill.

Bobby Ball
Bobby Ball: Comic turn

After a demanding stage test under the beedy eye of director Desmond Barritt, Doris was chosen to play the part.

Downcast after losing out on the prize role, Kylie and Marilyn made the journey back to their Gloucestershire farm.

Doris will now star alongside Cannon and Ball at the city's New Theatre from Saturday's opening night.

Cannon and Ball were delighted with their new co-star: "Doris can tap dance but we have yet to see of she can sing!"

Mr Barritt added: "It is not a big speaking part, but commitment to the role is important."

The theatre's marketing manager, Matt Smith, said the theatre had decided to look for an alternative to the usual cat for the pantomime.

"Dick Whittington needs a companion, and we have decided to be a bit untraditional," he said.

Tommy Cannon
Tommy Cannon: Starring role

"Hopefully Tommy the cat will get better and be able to take over the role again."

After filming the Zurich advertisements, the pigs were spared the slaughterhouse and moved to a farm near Cirencester.

Mr Smith said the audition on Wednesday was a genuine stage test to make sure everyone was comfortable with the idea.

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BBC Wales' Rhodri Lewis
"Doris the pig is set to make a star turn on stage"

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03 May 01 | Entertainment
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