A TV personality and two pantomime favourites have got into costume to launch another season of Christmas entertainment in Darlington.

Louie Spence, Liam Mellor and Zoe Birkett all got into character for the official launch of Darlington Hippodrome's pantomime season, which this year will be a performance of Aladdin.

As a choreographer, Louie has worked with the Spice Girls and Take That, and is best known for his work on the TV show Pineapple Dance Studios.

He has also appeared as a judge on Dancing on Ice and was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.

Speaking about this year's pantomime, which is being produced by Qdos Entertainment and will run from December 8 to January 6, he said: "I am very excited about the new show and being in Darlington. It is my first time and the theatre is gorgeous. I’ve got wonderful cast members with me and I’m in it and it is going to be fun, fun, fun.

"I am very excited to perform for the crowd in Darlington. They seem like a rowdy bunch, which I like. I like a bunch of rowdiness. Everyone has been very friendly and very nice and it should be a fun four weeks of panto.

"I think the great thing about panto is it gets the whole family out for Christmas, including people that normally wouldn’t go to the theatre at all. It is a tradition, it brings all the grandparents out and they then bring their grandchildren – it is a fun filled event."

Ms Birkett and Mr Mellor will return after staring in last year's show - the first pantomime and major production to take place in the refurbished Hippodrome.

Ms Birkett said: "I am so happy to be back – last year we obviously had the restoration of the theatre and there was a real vibe to be part of something so amazing and so big and to be in this lovely new building.

"It was great to be home and I got engaged on Christmas Day so it is a chance to relive all those happy memories again.

"I am currently here with a completely new show and the welcome home I received earlier this week was incredible.

"The locals are always so welcome and people in the town centre have been chatting about the show, and with me being a local girl, it is so lovely to come somewhere where you feel familiar and safe and it is just wonderful for me."

Mr Mellor added: "I absolutely loved it last year – I am only in Redcar so it was the first chance I had to go home after a show rather than stay in a hotel.

"It is fantastic what they have done with the building, I was here when it was the Civic and it is just amazing and there has been a great calibre of shows, so this year is just going to be another level on top of everything that has happened so far.

"I have wrote a few routines that have not been done in pantomime before, so we started in January thinking what are we going to do this year and what is going to make us different, and we've got these routines, so fingers crossed they go down really well."

For more information, call 01325 405450 or visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk.