CHRISTMAS may be over but Crackerjack star Stu Francis has already been snapped up for The Albert Halls’ next panto — Cinderella.

The comic, who has just finished delighting Bolton audiences in Jack and the Beanstalk, was approached by panto producer Duggie Chapman to take on the role of Buttons later this year.

As well as Stu, the show will feature comedy act the Harper Brothers who are the sons of comedian Bobby Ball.

Stu, whose catchphrases include “I could crush a grape”, said he was delighted to have been asked to join Bolton’s panto team again.

He added: “I was asked during the last week of the Jack and the Beanstalk season whether I’d like to take part in Cinderella.

“I will be playing the role of Buttons which is a really fun role so I’m already looking forward to it despite it only being January.

“Bobby Ball’s sons will also be in the show. I’ve never done panto with them but I have worked with Cannon and Ball in the past so I know the lads very well.

“I’m going to take a bit of time out over the next few weeks as it’s been so busy over Christmas. But then I’m off around the country in a variety show — and of course I will be crushing plenty of grapes. That just goes with the territory.”

Stu’s celebrity career started back in 1979 when he first hosted the hit series Crackerjack.

Panto boss Mr Chapman added: “We’re doing Cinderella which we haven’t done at The Albert Halls for quite some time.

“Of course we couldn’t do the panto without Stu coming back again, this time as Buttons, and we also have the amazing Harper Brothers joining the team so there will be plenty of laughs.

“I have worked with them before and they were very successful so I am very much looking forward to working with them again.”