POP Idol singer Gareth Gates and The Bill veteran Graham Cole head an all-star panto cast at Clacton's Princes Theatre next month.

Gates is the lead role in Robin Hood as he battles arch villain Cole as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Zippy and George, from classic children's TV show Rainbow, play Robin Hood's Merry Men alongside a full professional cast in an all-singing all-dancing show.

Gates was runner-up to Will Young in the first series of Pop Idol in 2002 and went on to sell 3.5 million records.

Cole played PC Tony Stamp in ITV police drama The Bill for 25 years from 1984 until 2009.

Performances are on April 9 at 3pm and 7pm and April 10 at 2.30pm. Gareth Gates is only appearing in the Sunday shows.

Tickets are £14 (£13 concessions) from the theatre box office on 01255 686633.