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I'd love to play a pantomime dame, says Sir Cliff Richard

Sir Cliff Richard has said he would love the chance to play a Joanna Lumley-style pantomime dame.

The star shared his festive dream on the red carpet of the London Palladium on the press night of Cinderella - the first panto to be brought to the historic venue in 30 years.

He told the Press Association: "Pantomime has always been a part of Christmas and for me to be at the Palladium... I was here back in 1964 and I was the first man ever to play Aladdin. I said I would do it but only if I can play a lead role.

"Then I was back two years later for Cinderella but I didn't play the lead role there.

"I think I'd like to do a dame next, but a bit more like Joanna Lumley."

Commenting on his return to the charts this year with his seasonal single It's Better To Dream, the 76-year-old said: "I can't believe that after all these years Elvis and I are both in the charts - the new, young whippersnappers still have to compete with us."

Often described as one of the kings of Christmas music, he added: "I don't understand where I got that title but I'm happy to wear the crown."

The dame-inspired role is this year being taken on by Paul O'Grady, who plays Baroness Hardup in the Qdos Entertainment production.

Much-loved dame actor Christopher Biggins also attended the event on Wednesday.

He told the Press Association: "It's so fantastic that the Palladium pantomime is back in London.

"Paul is not quite a dame, but it's a female performance and only he can do it. I think he is absolutely brilliant."

The show also stars Julian Clary as Dandini and Amanda Holden as The Fairy Godmother.

It will run at the London Palladium until January 15.

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