IT'S panto time again! Billy Pearce returns to the Alhambra stage in December as Buttons in Cinderella - and he will be joined by Great British Bake Off winner, and Strictly Come Dancing finalist, John Whaite as Dandini and Emmerdale star Samantha Giles as the Wicked Stepmother.

Billy, John and Samantha were at the Alhambra today to launch the show - which director Ed Curtis says will be "bigger and better" than ever.

"Panto has changed over the years, but the charm of panto is the same. It's lovely to see children still entertained by live theatre," said Billy. "It's an intense process, but over the years in panto I've worked with people whose paths I'd never normally cross with, and have made some great friends."

Said John: "Panto is a gateway to theatre for children, so you we have a responsibility to make it a great experience for them. To not take that seriously would be disrespectful. But it's fun too, and I'm really looking forward to Bradford audiences."

"It's great to be a baddie and bring some comedy to the role. It's my first panto - and what a theatre to be in! The Alhambra has a long panto heritage, which makes it very special," said Samantha Giles, who plays Bernice Blackstock in Emmerdale.

Cinderella runs at the Alhambra from December 9 to January 21, 2024.