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Former Lowestoft panto stars Ann Widdecombe and Amanda Barrie enter Celebrity Big Brother house

PUBLISHED: 11:54 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:10 03 January 2018

Ann Widdecombe as the Empress of China in Lowestoft's Aladdin pantomime. 
Picture: Nick Butcher.

Ann Widdecombe as the Empress of China in Lowestoft's Aladdin pantomime. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Archant © 2017

Two former Lowestoft pantomime stars have swapped the stage for the Celebrity Big Brother House.

Amanda Barrie dressed as the Fairy Godmother in the Marina Theatre's Cinderella pantomime in 2013. Picture: Nick Butcher.Amanda Barrie dressed as the Fairy Godmother in the Marina Theatre's Cinderella pantomime in 2013. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Ann Widdecombe and Amanda Barrie both entered the Big Brother House last night as millions of people across the country tuned in to watch the Channel 5 show.

Widdecombe appeared as the Empress of China just days before entering the house – starring in performances of Aladdin alongside singer/songwriter Mark Read at Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre.

She played “the very delectable, strictly respectable, Empress Chop Suey III” in the record-breaking pantomime, with more than 12,600 enjoying the show.

Ann Widdecombe pictured in Lowestoft last month with Marina Theatre panto stars in a Christmas parade through the town centre. 
Picture: Nick Butcher.Ann Widdecombe pictured in Lowestoft last month with Marina Theatre panto stars in a Christmas parade through the town centre. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Her lines made a number of references to her infamous stint on Strictly Come Dancing, along with Brexit, and her time as an MP.

Speaking ahead of her four-week run, she said: “There’s always a worry that you’re going to forget your words or deliver lines at the wrong time, but the thing with pantomime is that it’s so fun and relaxed.”

This year’s show, which kicked off with an all-female house to mark 100 years since women got the vote - also saw former Carry On Cleo, Coronation Street and Bad Girls star Amanda Barrie walk through the doors.

Ann Widdecombe rehearsing for Lowestoft's Aladdin pantomime. Picture: Nick Butcher.Ann Widdecombe rehearsing for Lowestoft's Aladdin pantomime. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Barrie also appeared in a Marina Theatre pantomime back in December 2013 when she played the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.

Lee Henderson, chief executive at the Marina Theatre, said: “We always try to attract the biggest names to Lowestoft during our popular pantomimes and in our jam-packed live programme of events throughout the year.

“It is fantastic to see that two of our former stars will be appearing on our television screens – in front of millions of people – over the next few weeks.

Amanda Barrie dressed as the Fairy Godmother in the Marina Theatre's Cinderella pantomime in 2013. Picture: Nick Butcher.Amanda Barrie dressed as the Fairy Godmother in the Marina Theatre's Cinderella pantomime in 2013. Picture: Nick Butcher.

“Ann was here just a few days ago starring as our Empress of China in what turned out to be our most successful pantomime ever with Paul Holman Associates.

“Amanda Barrie was an extremely popular member of our cast back in December 2013 – and we will be keeping an eye on the programme to see how they both get on in the Celebrity Big Brother House.”

The duo are joined by the likes of Malika Haqq, best friend to Khloe Kardashian, Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel Johnson and former Made in Chelsea star Ashley James.

Amanda Barrie at the Southwold Christmas lights switch on in 2013. Picture: Nick Butcher.Amanda Barrie at the Southwold Christmas lights switch on in 2013. Picture: Nick Butcher.

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