BOLTON actress Maxine Peake will swap the courtoom for the ballroom when she joins the judging panel for Bolton Hospice’s Strictly Learn to Dance contest in April.

The 39-year-old star of BBC courtroom drama, Silk, is the hospice’s vice-president and will help to decide which of the 11 couples taking part will be crowned champions at the Whites Hotel on Saturday, April 5.

Maxine said: “I am getting very excited about the Strictly Bolton Hospice event. It’s going to be a fabulous event. I’m just relieved I don’t have to hit that dancefloor.”

The contestants, who are all amateurs, are midway through a 10-week training period under the expert guidance of Teresa Croasdale and her staff at A Touch of Class dance studio in Little Lever, where they are learning three dances.

Each contestant has been challenged to raise £400 in sponsorship — the amount it costs to run the hospice for one day.

Reporter Liam Thorp is among the group of hip-shaking hopefuls looking to quickstep their way to victory at the grand finale.

He said: “I am delighted to hear Maxine will be passing sentence on our dancing efforts — I will be keen to impress her with my ‘silky’ footwork on the night.

“I have really enjoyed the process so far, although earlier rumours that I possess two left feet appear to have been proven correct.”

The hospice is delighted at the news that Maxine will be judging the showpiece event.

Sally Wilson, events co-ordinator, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Maxine for her support of Bolton Hospice and look forward to welcoming her along on the night.

“We would like to invite everyone across Bolton to join us for an evening of fantastic entertainment and marvel at our wonderful dancers as they take to the spotlight to raise vital funds for the hospice.”

Dance teacher Teresa Croasdale said the TV star will be delighted by the show put on by the dancers on the night.

She added: “Everyone has done really well and I think it will be a great show — some of the couples are getting quite competitive.”

Tickets are on sale for the event and are priced at £15, which includes a hot buffet. To book visit or call Sally on 01204 663055.