Dobson joins New Wimbledon’s celebrity lamp

Reporter: Matthew Amer, first published Wed 18 Nov 2009 17:55
Anita Dobson (Photo: Geoffrey Swaine/Rex Features)/servlet/file/store5/item108324/version1/fileservice770/108324_770_preview.jpg

Anita Dobson is the final star to be confirmed as a celebrity Genie Of The Lamp for the New Wimbledon theatre's pantomime, Aladdin. She joins the previously announced Pamela Anderson, Ruby Wax and Paul O’Grady.

The quartet of star performers will share wish-granting duties over the course of the pantomime’s seasonal run.

Laurence Olivier Award-nominee Dobson is best known for her long-running role as EastEnders’s first landlady Angie Watts. While her screen performance brought her fame, she is also a regular stage performer, appearing in London productions of Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hamlet, Three Sisters and, most recently, Calendar Girls.

Speaking about her festive, lamp-dwelling role, Dobson said: “Panto is such a great British tradition, and so important for young children to experience the magic of live theatre for the first time and I’m honoured to have been asked to be a part of that. I was taken to my first pantomime by my family when I was just four years old, and – as is often the case – it began a life-long love of theatre.”

Dobson is joined in the cast by panto regular Brian Blessed, who plays the evil Abanazar, Ashley Day, Leila Benn Harris, Daniel Sloss, Jonathan D Ellis, Djalenga Scott, Sam Bradshaw and Ian Talbot, who also directs.

Benn Harris is a West End regular whose credits include The Phantom Of The Opera and Imagine This, while Talbot is the former Artistic Director of Regent’s Park’s Open Air theatre whose recent stage work includes playing Wilbur in hit musical Hairspray.

Aladdin begins its run at the New Wimbledon theatre on 4 December, when comedian, actress and interviewer Wax will perform as the Genie until 12 December. She is followed by former Baywatch star Anderson from 13-27 December. Dobson will be enchanting from 28 December to 3 January, with O’Grady completing the panto’s final performances from 5 to 10 January.