Milton Keynes Theatre’s pantomime has become the butt of other panto jokes after Stacey Solomon hit national headlines for taking her script on stage.
The singing star’s excuse was that she had flown back from I’m a Celebrity in the jungle the previous day and had NO rehearsals at all.
Though the MK audience forgave her, rival panto Aladdin at Aylesbury could not resist a dig.
Entertainer Andy Collins got one of the biggest laughs of the evening when, after reading a list of names requesting a ‘shout out’, he quipped: “I borrowed this from Stacey Solomon!”
Meanwhile, back at MK Theatre, Stacey was this week word perfect as Fairy Bowbells in Dick Whittington - and minus her clipboard and script.
The unscheduled prop featured in the panto’s debut performance on Thursday afternoon.
National papers and TV immediately published the story and photo of the X Factor finalist clutching her script in one hand and fairy wand in the other.
This caused a Twitter spat between Stacey’s boyfriend Joe Swash and his EastEnders co-star Aaron Sidwell.
Aaron, who plays Steven Beale, tweeted about ‘script-gate’: “This is shameful. Shouldn’t cash her pay check!”
Joe retaliated with a post telling him to “pipe down” and “be ashamed” of his remarks.
Stacey herself later appeared on ITV’s Loose Women to defend her use of the clipboard, saying producers at Milton Keynes Theatre were “adamant” that she used it for health and safety reasons.
She told how she had flown back from the Australian jungle on Wednesday, woke up the next day, took her two sons to school and then went straight to the theatre.
She said: “I’d had no rehearsals. The company were well aware and really supportive of the fact that I was going to be working up until the day that it started and they still wanted me to do it.”
Panto producer Kevin Wood said “Stacey’s performance as Fairy Bowbells received a fantastic response from our audiences. She chose to take to the stage having just returned from the jungle as she didn’t want to disappoint her fans by not appearing in the show. She took her script on stage as a prompt as a mark of respect for her fellow performers to ensure the show ran smoothly.”
He added: “We think Stacey should be applauded for her professionalism.”