COLEEN Nolan is used to sharing a stage with members of her family. Having grown up in one of the UK's biggest girl groups, she travelled the world singing with her siblings.

This Christmas she continues the family showbiz tradition in the Alhambra panto, treading the boards with her son, singer Shane Nolan. Coleen is the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, which sees her reunited with Billy Pearce, in his 19th Alhambra panto.

"I've worked with Billy for years; he only has to walk into a room and he makes me laugh," says Coleen. "When I got offered the Alhambra panto, with Billy, I thought 'I have to do this'. It's such a beautiful theatre, when it comes to panto this is the one everyone wants."

She's under no illusions about the reality of panto though."It's the hardest work I've done. You only get Christmas Day off and you're exhausted! But it's great fun and there's always a fantastic atmosphere backstage. It'll be like being in the Big Brother house - but more fun!"

Coleen and her sisters started out as youngsters on the club circuit as the Singing Nolans. The family moved to Blackpool from Dublin and became the Nolan Sisters. In the 1970s and 1980s they were one of the country's biggest acts. They toured the world, supported Frank Sinatra, and had a series of hits including Attention To Me, Don't Make Waves and I'm In The Mood For Dancing, which remains a party floor-filler. They sold more than 25 million records worldwide, selling over nine million in Japan alone.

In 2009 the sisters reunited for a sell-out tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of I'm In The Mood For Dancing, which came to St George's Hall. The girls were clearly enjoying themselves. Gone were the pageboy haircuts and frilly dresses of their youth; this time around the sisters worked the stage in stilettoes, surrounded by dancing cowboys and firemen.

The tour was the last time they performed together, before Bernie's death from cancer in 2013.

"I'm so glad we did it, we had a blast," says Coleen. "There was no pressure; we just got out there and enjoyed ourselves. When we were younger we were constantly on the road. My main memories of Japan are being really tired and homesick. I guess because I'd grown up with it all, I took it for granted. I was very young, it was all I'd ever known and I didn't really appreciate it.

"What's great about the reunion tour is we'll always have the DVD. Such precious memories, especially of Bernie."

When the sisters went their separate ways, pre-reunion, Bernie, Linda and Maureen enjoyed successful careers in musical theatre, while Coleen became the queen of daytime TV. She has celebrated a decade on two of ITV's Loose Women and This Morning and has published six books, including a best-selling autobiography and her fiction line. She has appeared on Celebrity Big Brother twice, winning it second time around, and took to the rink on Dancing on Ice.

Chatting to Coleen at the Alhambra's panto launch, she's relieved to finally take off her tiara after the photo-shoot. "I feel slightly ridiculous," she chuckles, looking down at her sequinned dress. "I do love panto though, I used to love going with my sisters, then taking my own children. Kids believe in it all, it's magical. And the Alhambra has such a great panto tradition.

"I just hope Billy and Shane don't keep me giggling too much. I'm the Fairy Godmother; I have to keep them in line!"

* Cinderella runs at the Alhambra from December 16 to January 28. Call (01274) 432000.