Pantomime season is almost upon us and Alix Culbertson has spoken exclusively to this year’s Lyric Theatre dame.

Stewart Wright is better known for starring alongside Martin Clunes in ITV’s Doc Martin as PC Mark Mylow but this festive season he will be switching his policeman’s hat for a dress (or five).

He will be playing the role of the dame in the classic Dick Whittington and his Cat, directed by Dan Herd and written by Tom Wells, the same team behind last year’s hit, Jack and the Beanstalk.

The 40-year-old is coming back to Hammersmith where he spent his childhood after being born in Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in White City, and he now lives in Bristol.

Much of his family live in and around Hammersmith so he tells me his first foray into pantomime could not be in a better place.

“I remember my dad took us to shows at the Lyric when we were young, he was a bit of a theatre aficionado, and my strongest memory was going to see Griff Rhys Jones when I was about 10, that’s stayed with me ever since.

“My sister had already bought tickets for the Lyric pantomime before I got the part so she’s now going to have to explain to her children why their uncle is on stage in a dress.

“I actually can’t wait for it, we start rehearsals on Monday and I’m really looking forward to meeting the cast. The costume lady has already told me I’ve got five dresses to wear!”

Stewart tells me he has not, until now, made it a habit to wear dresses but did don one when he played a woman in his final year show at drama school then again when he played a post-op transsexual in a TV pilot which did not make it to screen.

It was him dressed as a transsexual which gave his agent the idea for him to audition for the Lyric’s pantomime, so he must be doing something right in a dress.

“I’m also looking forward to interacting with the audience,” he said. “I’ve been breaking the fourth wall more recently and really enjoy it. Whenever I’ve thought of pantomime I’ve always wanted to be the dame, it’s such a fun role.”

As most actors will tell you, pantomimes prove to be some of the toughest acts as so many shows are packed into a six week slot but Stewart says he cannot wait to be doing 10 shows a week, although it will be the most he has ever done.

Not one to shy away from hard work, his new improvised film, Nativity 3: Dude Where’s My Donkey, also starring Martin Clunes, Celia Imrie and Catherine Tate, will be released on November 14 in cinemas, just before Dick Whittington and his Cat starts.

Dick Whittington and his Cat at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, runs from November 22 to January 3, 2015, and may be extended for another week.  

For ages six plus, tickets start at £15, with family tickets for £70. Tickets are available from