TWO stars of the small screen will share the stage in Swindon to entertain hundreds of families this Christmas.

EastEnders and Coronation Street star Michelle Collins. best known for playing Cindy Beale in the former, is following in the footsteps of her on-screen partner Adam Woodyatt and headlining this year’s Wyvern Theatre panto.

She will play Sleeping Beauty’s wicked stepmother Carabosse.

Michelle said: “Adam said I’d really enjoy it and that it’s a great place to be, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“I think he’s quite sad that he’s not coming back this time but I’m the first female lead to be doing this panto in 10 years, which is quite nice.

“I love playing the villain, it’s more exciting – I want to put my mark on the role and be big, bold and bad. I’ll be channelling Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie.

“Panto seems to be getting bigger and more people are going than they ever used to. It’s a magical time of year, it’s the first time that a lot of kids go to the theatre and it’s nice to see families get together.”

CBeebies star Chris Jarvis will play Muddles as well as write the script and direct. He promised to include some Swindon-specific references for the crowd to enjoy.

He said: “I’ve done my research and the people working at the Wyvern were fantastically helpful. It’s got to be about Swindon – if there isn’t a reference to the town on each page, it’s not a panto.

“Though the tale itself is quite dark, I’ve written it as a feel-good comedy because I want it to be an escape that helps people forget about the outside world for a bit.

“The Wyvern has a great atmosphere, it’s very friendly and welcoming for kids – not every theatre is. I loved going there on tour so for panto it should be electric.”

Wyvern Theatre director Laura James said: “Everyone here is really thrilled that Michelle will be joining us for this year’s fun packed pantomime, an actress with her talent and profile is sure to make this our fastest selling ever.

“Plus, with Chris Jarvis also in the team, Sleeping Beauty promises to be spectacular family entertainment.”

Sleeping Beauty will be performed at the Wyvern from December 7 to January 5. Tickets on sale from the box office on 01793 524481.