JACK AND The Beanstalk is this year’s pantomime at York Theatre Royal.

Berwick Kaler has again written the show, which runs from December 14 to February 3, and he is back as dame with regular sidekick Martin Barrass.

Berwick is Britain’s longest-serving dame at 39 years, while Martin has clocked up more than 30 years as his on-stage ‘son’ but was missing from last year’s Cinderella line-up after being seriously injured in a road traffic accident.

Now fully-recovered, he’ll join other long-time York panto stars, including the villainous David Leonard and the ever-youthful Suzy Cooper.

The production also sees the return of York’s favourite Brummie AJ Powell, who stepped into Martin’s shoes to play one of the Ugly Sisters alongside Berwick last year, and York-born, Pocklington-raised Harry Hughes, who played Buttons in the same show.

Berwick said: “I can verify that Leonard will be playing Dr McCarb, Barrass will be Stanley Manly the son of his mother Mandy Manly (me!).

“Suzy Cooper has had yet another facelift in order to play the 18-year-old principal girl Jill. Harry Hughes has been given a last chance to prove he can act by taking on the role of principal boy Jack Manly.

“As for AJ Powell, he isn’t concerned about who he is playing as long as he gets a chance to show his legs off!”

Co-director Damian Cruden asked Berwick, who had a pacemaker (now called Gerry) fitted three weeks before Barrass’ near fatal accident, if he would be taking things easier in this year’s panto.

Berwick responded: “No. I’ve changed my lifestyle – I no longer drink Newcastle Brown Ale but go for the healthier option which is Yorkshire Terrier Ale”.

Berwick promised that Jack And The Beanstalk would boast breathtaking sets, gorgeous costumes, amazing lighting design, singalong songs, foot-tapping choreography – and loads of fun.

Visit yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or call 01904 623568 to book tickets.