First Family Entertainment and the Opera House, Manchester's family pantomime stars Ashleigh and Pudsey - last year’s popular winners of Britain’s Got Talent.

Appearing alongside them making her panto debut will be West End and television star Jodie Prenger as Fairy Bowbells, Ben Faulks (aka Mr Bloom from CBeebies) as Dick Whittington, Opera House favourite Tam Ryan returns as Idle Jack and panto dame Eric Potts stars as Sarah the Cook.

Sarah Bleasdale, general manager of the Opera House, said: “This is a stellar and extremely talented line up that we can’t wait to take to the stage and deliver the magical panto experience that the Opera House and First Family Entertainment are famous for. We’re looking forward to December already and know audiences will love seeing the classic story of Dick Whittington being brought to life by Ashleigh and Pudsey, Jodie, Ben, Tam and Eric!”

Ashleigh and Pudsey, even turned Simon Cowell's head as one of his ‘”favourite ever acts” and they made their pantomime debut to great acclaim in Woking last Christmas and will be reprising their roles of Alice Fitzwarren and her faithful pooch in Manchester, where they are set to delight audiences with their amazing routines and tricks.

Jodie Prenger shot to fame when she won the role of Nancy in the West End revival of Oliver! In the television talent show I’d Do Anything. Since playing Nancy she has played the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot in a national tour, Dolly in the National Theatre’s smash hit One Man Two Guvnors in the West End and on Tour and has made numerous television appearances including Candy Cabs, Hustle and Waterloo Road.

BAFTA award nominee and Manchester Theatre Award winner Ben Faulks is best known for his role as Mr Bloom on the hit CBeebie’s show Mr Bloom’s Nursery, a hugely popular show that’s credited for helping to get a generation of youngsters interested in gardening. This will be Ben’s first pantomime.

Tam Ryan has become a firm favourite with Opera House audiences and critics alike and is back by popular demand for his fourth consecutive panto there, following his hugely popular performance as Smee in Peter Pan in 2012. Tam has worked in the entertainment industry for most of his life – with a host of TV, theatre, panto and cabaret credits to his name including Emmerdale, Waterloo Road, Phoenix Nights and Coronation Street.

Eric Potts – who starred at the Opera House in 2009 as Widow Twankey in Aladdin – is one of Britain’s best loved panto dames, appearing last year alongside Dame Edna Everage in Wimbledon. He is also is known for playing baker Diggory Compton in Coronation Street and has also written the script for Dick Whittington.

Dick Whittington runs at the Opera House from 6 December - 5 January.