Strictly Leititia battles illness

STRICTLY Come Dancing star Letitia Dean is to be joined today by dancing partner Darren Bennett at Ipswich's Regent theatre.Arriving in Ipswich yesterday as the Regent theatre announced record pantomime ticket sales, Miss Dean, 40, is combining both pantomime and Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals at the 1,600 seat venue.

STRICTLY Come Dancing star Letitia Dean is to be joined today by dancing partner Darren Bennett at Ipswich's Regent theatre.

Arriving in Ipswich yesterday as the Regent theatre announced record pantomime ticket sales, Miss Dean, 40, is combining both pantomime and Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals at the 1,600 seat venue.

Suffering from an illness that saw her struggle to perform on Saturday evening, Miss Dean did not speak to reporters at a press call yesterday saying only she felt “terrible” and posing for pictures.

Theatre manager Hazel Clover said: “We have sold more than £300,000 in advance ticket sales. It is better than last year and the year before and breaking box office records.


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“It is going to be a popular show.”

Miss Clover said Miss Dean was genuinely committed to the pantomime and would manage to meet her obligations to both the BBC series and the theatre.

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Miss Clover added: “It's a difficult day today and she is under pressure. It's hard work but I know she is really looking forward to performing in Ipswich.”

Miss Dean, who is appearing as the Fairy Godmother in the production, was joined by the 20 strong cast including her brother Stephen Dean who is playing Prince Charming

Miss Clover said: “She's not really got a voice and she's not feeling at all well but she looks fantastic and we are delighted to welcome her and Darren to the Regent.

“I wasn't sure if she would make it to Ipswich today. She is juggling both commitments but we have every confidence in her. In Eastenders she would often receive the script the night before so she is used to pressure.”

After rehearsals Miss Dean and her dancing partner Darren Bennett went to the Lait School of Dancing in Clarkson Street where they are practising for next Saturday's show . . . behind firmly closed doors.

Tom Lait, 77, founded the club with his wife Pat in 1974 and said he had never had a celebrity there before. “It is a bit strange,” he said. “We do not normally have this sort of thing.

“My son and daughter both used to dance with Darren Bennett so we know him from old. We said to Darren about them using the hall and he said yes. The place is empty half the day so they might as well use it because they only have to travel across Ipswich.”

See James Marston's column on page 10.

To book tickets call the Regent Box office on 01473 433100.

Are you a fan of Strictly Come Dancing? To book call 01473 433100. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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