HE MAY no longer be king of the dance floor but Russell Grant is taking on a genie-us new role.
The astrologer will be appearing in Aladdin at Milton Keynes running from Tuesday to Christmas Eve. He will be taking the role of the genie in the show which is usually performed by fellow Strictly Come Dancing star Camilla Dallerup.
There were very big personal reasons why Russell chose to take on the role.
He said: “I have had around 20 offers to do work after Strictly and the reason I wanted to do the show was my mum was evacuated to nearby Bletchley during the Second World War and she still goes back there every year to see some of the people.
“It was also nice that it was a very short run just before Christmas and that appealed as well.”
And while he is not the biggest fan of pantomime, he does believe it can be of huge benefit to the theatre.
Russell said: “I am not a huge fan of pantomime but I think anything that can help bring young people to the theatre has to be a good thing.
“The more children come to the theatre, the more likely they will be interested in it when they grow up and I think having that would be healthy.”
He is also grateful for his time appearing on Strictly dancing with Flavia Cacace.
Russell added: “I had the time of my life working on Strictly, it was so much fun and I loved every minute of it.
“I managed to get to perform at Wembley in front of 6,500 people and I got a standing ovation. It was an amazing feeling.”
Ex Eastenders star and fellow Strictly Come Dancing contestant Anita Dobson takes on the role from Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve.
Aladdin will be on at the theatre until Sunday January 15. Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 0844 871 7652 or www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes.