West End star Anna-Jane Casey will replace Mel Giedroyc in an upcoming touring production of the pantomime Mother Goose after the actress and comedian pulled out due to “personal reasons”.
The former Great British Bake Off host, 54, was due to star as Cilla the Goose alongside Sir Ian McKellen and comedian John Bishop in the festive show.
However, Casey will now fill the role, after ending her acclaimed turn as Fraulein Kost in the award-winning production of Cabaret At The Kit Kat Club.
Her other West End credits include Velma Kelly in Chicago, Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot, Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, Anita in West Side Story, Rizzo in Grease, Buffy, Dinah and Pearl in Starlight Express and Rumpleteazer in Cats.
She also played Dot in Sunday In The Park With George at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
Giedroyc withdrew from the production earlier this month, saying in a statement: “Due to personal reasons, I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the forthcoming production of Mother Goose.
“I am thankful to the producers of the show for being so understanding and wish everyone involved in the production a fantastic tour throughout the UK and Ireland.
“Now, more than ever we all need a bit of joy, and I can’t wait to see it myself. I know it is going to be fantastic.”
The play, written by Coronation Street’s Jonathan Harvey and directed by Cal McCrystal, tells the story of Mother Goose and her husband Vic, who run an animal sanctuary and live a wholesome life inside an abandoned Debenhams department store, but the sudden arrival of a goose causes upheaval.
The show is due to open at the Theatre Royal Brighton from December 3 to 11 before a West End run at the Duke of York’s Theatre between December 15 and January 29.