He’s become a mainstay of pantos in Calderdale ... and he’s back again this year.

Funnyman Neil Hurst will be leading the cast in traditional family panto Aladdin at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax.

It opens on Saturday, December 16 and Neil will be playing the dim-witted but loveable Wishee Washee.

He is joined by Adam Stafford as Widow Twankey, Andrew Piper as Abanazar, Felicity Skiera as Aladdin, Aaron Gibson as the Genie, Katie Faye as the Princess and Charlotte Elisabeth Yorke as So Shi and the Spirit of the Ring.

The panto will once again be direct by Robert Marsden, who said: “We had a huge hit last year with Peter Pan and so the pressure is definitely on to come up with something just as spectacular this year. Among other things we have a magical flying carpet and a spectacular dragon which the audiences are going to love.”

Neil Hurst (centre, in red) with the cast of Aladdin at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax

Neil has spent the last couple of months working on the tour of the new star-studded Fat Friends – The Musical alongside Sam Bailey, Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Kennedy.

He said: “Fat Friends has been great fun but I am really looking forward to being back home for Christmas. Panto is such a part of the festive season for me now I cannot imagine not doing it. The Victoria Theatre audiences love their panto and it is always a pleasure to perform there.”

Felicity Skiera is delighted to be returning to Halifax where she previously played Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk in 2014.

She said: “Neil is great fun and very naughty as he always makes me laugh when I am not supposed to! I am really excited to be playing Aladdin this time as I have played Jack for the last three years so getting to grips with a new character in a new panto is going to be great.”

Aladdin runs from Saturday, December 16 until Saturday, January 6.