Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stacey Solomon in Milton Keynes panto clipboard backlash

Stacey Solomon reading from a clipboard on stage Image copyright Max Tollworthy/SilverHub
Image caption Oh yes she did: The singer and TV personality had to read her lines from a clipboard

Angry theatre-goers have slammed former X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon for reading lines from a clipboard on the opening day of a pantomime.

The singer appeared onstage clutching the sparkly stationery a day after returning from Australia.

But some panto fans were dismayed to see the east London-born entertainer reading lines during Thursday's matinee of Dick Whittington.

The producer said it was a "prompt" to ensure a smooth show.

Solomon, a regular on ITV's Loose Women, was cast in the part of Fairy Bowbells at Milton Keynes Theatre, alongside Eastenders' Samantha Womack and entertainer Kev Orkian.

Read more on this and other stories from Buckinghamshire

Some audience members described her use of the clipboard as "a sham" and "embarrassing" although one said it "didn't make any difference".

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Miss Solomon tweeted that she was "nervous" about Thursday's matinee performance

One member of the audience said it was "obvious she was reading at the beginning of the show," but added it "didn't make an iota of difference" to his enjoyment.

"In her other entrances I didn't see any signs of clipboards or anything else," he added.

Another suggested the part should have been given to someone who "had time to rehearse and didn't double-book work".

Christopher Marsh, a theatre company actor, described it as "disrespectful" and "unacceptable".

Paying audiences expected "professionalism", he wrote on Twitter.

Tickets for the pantomime cost on average between £14 and £35.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Milton Keynes Theatre
Image caption Stacey Solomon was a finalist in ITV's X Factor in 2009

Solomon's representative told the Daily Mail she had not had time to learn her lines or rehearse with the rest of the cast because she had been co-hosting ITV's I'm A Celebrity Extra Camp in Australia.

Her agency has not yet replied to the BBC.

Pantomime producer Kevin Wood said: "Stacey chose to take to the stage having just returned from the jungle as she didn't want to disappoint her fans by not appearing in the show."

The script was a "prompt" to ensure the show ran smoothly, and she "should be applauded for her professionalism", he added.

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