THREE panto stars are taking to the stage in Clacton this festive season following a shake-up.

Snow White has already taken her first bite of the apple as the Princes Theatre’s pantomime got under way on Saturday.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs takes to the stage at the Princes Theatre until January 1. It stars singing sensation Linda Nolan as the Wicked Queen, alongside The Bill’s Graham Cole as Herbert the Henchman and Britain’s Got Talent star Graeme Mathews as Wally.

Linda, famed for her part in family girl group The Nolans, which formed in 1974, said this year’s pantomime in Clacton is set to be a special treat.

“I lived in Great Dunmow in 1980 and we came to Clacton in the summer and remember the pier being really good,” she said.

“It’s been great to be here again and we’ve had a few people coming up and recognising me as being one of the Nolans. We turned on the Christmas Lights in Clacton – people have been lovely.”

Linda, who toured with Frank Sinatra in 1975, is no stranger to pantomime – having performed in 23 since 1984. She adds: “I’m exited to play the Wicked Queen - she’s very jealous, wicked and evil and will stop at nothing to get our own way.

“This is Anton Benson Productions first year in Clacton and they are fabulous - they’ve got great new people coming in and they’ve spared no expense on clothes and sets.

“Our man in the mirror is voiced by Russell Grant and there’s a fantastic effect at the end of the first half… which I won’t spoil.

“Panto is hard work and you get very involved, but it can be some children’s first trip to the theatre and we want it to be a memorable occasion.

“This panto has all that with the goodies and baddies - and our Snow White and Prince Charming are fabulous, as are Graham Cole and Graeme Mathews.”

Graham Cole, who starred as PC Tony Stamp in ITV’s The Bill for 25 years, has previously appeared in Clacton alongside Gareth Gates in Robin Hood.

“I’m well ensconced with the Princes Theatre,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons why I said yes to coming back, because it was such a love in.

“Then and now, the people of Clacton have been great – I just get smiles. I’ve never worked in a place where I’ve done a selfie every single morning on my way here. It’s been absolutely lovely. I’m a theatre trained actor and started as a singer and fed comic material to about every comic in the country.

“I’ve worked with just about everybody - Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, Vincent Price - I’ve been so lucky.”

Snow White is Graham’s 37th pantomime and he enjoys going against type and paying a baddie.

“To play against type is fun,” he said. “The baddies are great because the kids just go for it.

“This panto is really special and a little bit different - they’ve put such a good cast together and I must mention Lisa Hills and her acting school - the local girls and boys are so enthusiastic.”

Children’s entertainer Graeme Mathews will be joining a panto for the first time following his success on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year. He said: “When I was on Britain’s Got Talent the people of Essex were very supportive.

“I’m playing wally the comic lead – he’s a very silly character with lots of audience participation stuff and silliness – it’s lots of fun.

“Britain’s Got Talent was a great experience. The judges were lovely and I had a standing ovation at the London Palladium.

“I’ve never done pantomime before, but I think I’ve got the natural silliness for panto, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

The panto also stars Jessica Daugirda as Snow White, Charlie Ward as the Prince and Clare Sloane as Trixie the Pixie.

Tickets can be bought online at or by calling the Box Office on 01255 686633.