The kitten and two Pinocchios

THIS year's C-op Junior's panto could have stars in the audience as well as on the stage.Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton has promised to try and make it to The Regent to see her boyfriend's successor in the title role of Pinocchio.

THIS year's C-op Junior's panto could have stars in the audience as well as on the stage.

Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton has promised to try and make it to The Regent to see her boyfriend's successor in the title role of Pinocchio.

Ipswich lad Gavin Hatcher played the little wooden boy 17 years ago before going on to fame and fortune as a dancer for Atomic Kitten – where he met his famous flame.

And he made a trip home with his other half to meet 10-year-old Jack Brett, who will be taking to the stage in the very same costume this Christmas.

Wishing young Jack all the best, Natasha said: "It's great to see the kids here still performing 17 years on after Gavin did it.

"I am sure he will do a great job. He tells me he's learnt all his lines and there's still a week to go to the show.

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"I did panto when I was little. I played Little Red Riding Hood and I had a big load of curly hair.

"It's great fun and great experience being up on stage. It's great for the future, helping to build your confidence.

"We're coming down here over Christmas, so we'll definitely try and go to a show."

Natasha was also treated to some old pictures of Gavin in his former guise, pronouncing him "very handsome" in his little suit.

Gavin could still recall the nerves of taking the Regent stage for his first major role.

He said: "I was much more nervous in those days, I had to get up there and do a big solo.

"Now I just get on the stage, keep well in the background and do my thing. It's just a job for me now."

Jack, of The Street, Rushmere, was taking it all very much in his stride. His big Christmas role follows on from an appearance as a dwarf last year in Snow White.

He is looking forward to a big group of pals from St Matthew's Church of England School turning up in the audience to cheer and him on.

Jack said: "I'm not really feeling very nervous. I'm more excited and just looking forward to it now."

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