This Morning ropes in Sheridan Smith and Joanna Lumley for special pantomime

Sheridan Smith and Joanna Lumley are joining This Morning for a special daytime pantomime.

Hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield will also appear in the fun project, set to air on Friday, alongside Christopher Biggins.

The festive special is airing to throw support behind panto season as the Covid-19 pandemic has completely destroyed this year's offerings.

It's being called a "panto mash-up" by ITV bosses, with the project including characters from classics such as Aladdin, Dick Whittington and Snow White.

Blonde beauty Holly will get into character as Cinderella, while Schofe will play Buttons.

The duo are set to take off on an epic journey to get to the "This Morning Ball".

Star of the stage and screen Sheridan will be playing Peter Pan.

She said: "The whole theatre and creative industries have been devastated by the virus and lockdown.

"Hopefully doing this panto with This Morning will provide some of these people much needed work and give everyone some hope and laughter for better times to come."

Meanwhile, Absolutely Fabulous icon Joanna Lumley will star as a wicked stepmother.

The legendary actress said: "All of us who appear in front of the audience are painfully aware of the desperate situation of everyone who makes shows and plays happen: the chorus and crowd artists and dancers… and then backstage, choreographers and chorus masters, props and costumes and dressers, and writers… the list goes on and on.

"To be able to help them in any small way is a privilege and a pleasure; and I am thrilled that we shall be paying tribute to them in this sensational one-off pantomime.

"They don’t get any of the financial help that is being dished out across the country; so we must do our very best for them now when they need us most."

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Biggins will play Dame Sarah the Cook from Dick Whittington, while Dr Ranj is going to appear as Aladdin's Genie of the Lamp.

Biggins said: "I’m thrilled to be part of the This Morning Panto.

"In these uncertain times, where productions are being cancelled all over, it's good to be giving the country a pantomime that they can laugh at and find Christmas joy."

Celebrity Gogglebox star and This Morning regular Gyles Brandreth will play panto classic Widow Twankey.

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Fashionista Lisa Snowdon will take the part of Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, while Matthew Wright will join her as Captain Hook.

Outgoing Friday hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford will be involved, playing Santa and Mrs Claus respectively.

And This Morning's agony aunts Deidre Sanders and Vanessa Feltz will appear as two villainous step-sisters.

Fan-favourite Alison Hammond will star as the fairy godmother, while Britain's Got Talent champ Jon Courtenay is also involved.

While the pandemic has completely destroyed panto season, it appears to have done wonders for This Morning, with more people tuning in than ever before.

Many episodes doubled their audience this year, with the first week of lockdown recording more than 10million viewers.

And the episode aired on May 11 saw an increase of 156% from last year, with almost 2million tuning in.

This Morning’s Panto will air Friday 11th December from 10am on ITV

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