Soap star royalty arrived in Birmingham as Britain’s favourite soap baddie, Steve McFadden paid an exclusive visit to the city’s premiere theatre in countdown to the arrival of Birmingham’s biggest panto. Best known for playing 'hard man' Phil Mitchell in the BBC soap opera ‘EastEnders,’ Steve will swap the streets of Albert Square for the sewers of London this Christmas in the role of the villainous King Rat in Dick Whittington, running at Birmingham Hippodrome from December – January.

No stranger to pantomimes, his previous festive roles include Captain Hook in Peter Pan at High Wycombe Swan theatre in 2012/2013 and Abanazar in Aladdin at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford.

Steve was joined for a fairy tale-themed photo call in Southside by fellow panto co-star and friend, Matt Slack who returns to Birmingham Hippodrome for the fourth consecutive year this year in the role of ‘Idle Jack.’

Steve said: “I’m really excited to be appearing in panto in Birmingham this Christmas.

As an actor and father of five, I’m a big fan of panto and have travelled all over the UK to watch my friends on stage and I can confidently say that Birmingham is home to one of the best pantomimes in the country.

I’ve been to see Matt Slack in panto here for the last three years and I always feel such a strong connection with Birmingham audiences.
They really know how to enjoy themselves. You can tell they’re up for a great night out from the minute they arrive and that’s exactly what they get.

I can’t wait to get started!”

Joining Steve and Matt on stage this Christmas will be ‘Torchwood’ and musical theatre star John Barrowman in the title role of Dick Whittington.

Adding a touch of West End sparkle to proceedings, actress and singer Jodie Prenger stars as Fairy Bow Bells. She will be joined by legendary comedy duo, The Krankies as Councillor and Jimmy Krankie.

Completing the cast and also returning after last year’s appearance in ‘Aladdin’ is Birmingham’s favourite panto dame Andrew Ryan, who will don even more of his amazing frocks in the role of Sarah the Cook.

Following last year’s record-breaking production of ‘Aladdin’ attended by nearly 120,000 people, Birmingham Hippodrome is thrilled to play host to another unmissable pantomime production of the rags-to-riches tale, ‘Dick Whittington,’ produced by the world’s biggest pantomime producer, Qdos Entertainment, this Christmas season.

It will be directed by Michael Harrison for the fifth year running.