GARETH Gates will take the lead role in Jack and the Beanstalk – the much anticipated panto coming to Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre later this year.

A number of familiar faces will also be returning due to popular demand.

Lisa Riley will play the Fairy, Ian Adams will return as Dame Trott, Black Country favourite Doreen Tipton will somehow find the energy to work over Christmas and Adam C Booth will play Jack’s brother, Simple Simon.

Gareth Gates rose to fame in 2002 as runner-up in the UK’s first Pop Idol and went on to sell more than 3.5 million records in the UK, release three albums and bag four UK number one singles.

His theatre career has seen him play the role of Marius in the 25th anniversary tour of Les Misérables for Sir Cameron Mackintosh, in Loserville at West Yorkshire Playhouse and the UK tours of Legally Blonde and Boogie Nights the Musical.

He has regularly toured in the concert Mad About the Musicals and is currently starring in the second leg of the UK tour of Footloose.

Lisa Riley captured the hearts of Wolverhampton as the Slave of the Ring in last year’s pantomime, Aladdin. Lisa is a regular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women and is known for playing Mandy Dingle in the ITV1 soap Emmerdale from 1995 to 2001 and more recently wowed viewers on the BBC1 series Strictly Come Dancing.

Fans of the lazy Black Country internet sensation Doreen Tipton will be pleased to hear she is appearing as herself this year, as it’s a lot of effort playing a different character.

She has become a national treasure – at least regionally – in her native Black Country. Doreen’s original million hit YouTube viral success has now blossomed into a series of theatre tours, a full-length feature film featuring fellow Yam Yam and rock legend Robert Plant and Steve Bull, an autobiography (which somebody else had to write) her own BBC radio show, and even her own online comedy sketch channel called Doreen TV.

More casting for Jack and the Beanstalk, which runs from December 9 to January 14, will be announced soon.

Tickets are now on sale and can be booked in person, by phone on 01902 42 92 12 or online at