STRICTLY Come Dancing star Brian Fortuna will star in the lead role when Peter Pan flies into St Helens’ Theatre Royal last this year.

Fortuna, from Los Angeles, is well known to UK television audiences after partnering the likes of likes of Heather Small, Kelly Brook and Ali Bastian in the BBC show.

He will be the headline name in the show that will run from the Corporation Street venue from December 6 to January 12, 2014.

Chantelle Nolan, theatre manager, said: “Over the last few years the Theatre Royal pantos have gone from strength to strength and I couldn’t be more excited to have Brian joining us this year.

“It is a real coup for us and just shows how popular our pantos have become.

“As a jack of all trades, I am in no doubt that Brian will make an excellent Peter and, along with our much in demand panto regulars, this is going to be our best one yet!”

Fortuna is no stranger to treading the boards, with theatre roles including the national tour of Over the Rainbow as Danny Cassidy and a headlining role, alongside Strictly partner Ali Bastian in Burn the Floor's run at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London’s West End.

He was also the featured dancer in the Oscar award-winning film The Aviator, with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Fortuna said: “I think that panto is an amazing art form that brings the whole family together with old fashioned live entertainment in the holiday spirit. “It’s so much fun to be able to entertain the kids, parents and grandparents alike.

“I love the fact that live theatre is so alive in the UK and feel blessed to have a chance to come over and entertain by doing what I love. “Not to mention how cool is it to play Peter Pan, I have performed in both St Helens and Liverpool and recall the enthusiasm of the audiences.

“Panto was such a wonderful experience for me last time and I can’t wait to give it another go especially in the North. I miss the UK very much and am really looking forward to my return.”