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
Archant © 2017
Two former Lowestoft pantomime stars have swapped the stage for the Celebrity Big Brother House.
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.
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.
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.
“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.