A COMEDIAN, magician and illusionist is ready to cast a spell when he returns home to Bolton this December.

Matt Grindley will be confounding audiences at The Bolton Panto at Wanderers’ Macron Stadium.

It is a return to the town’s seasonal stage for Matt who has toured the UK and internationally for more than 15 years.

However, despite performing around the world, the chance of appearing alongside childhood hero Stu Francis was something which Matt could not resist.

He said: “The panto is one of the shows I am most looking forward to this year. It’s a good experience and the venue is great.

“It’s been a couple of years since I last did the Bolton Panto, but I have missed it. I absolutely love comedy magic so I look forward to that side of the show.

“I have always been a massive fan of the music hall era, my show is all about that style. It’s ffamily orientated with touches of the likes of George Formby – I sound like an old man but I’m not!

“The pantomime is the last gasp of that era and keeps going but with a modern twist.

“For many children it is also their first experience of going to a theatre or show so you either make or break their experiences at that point. If it’s a rubbish show they may never come back to theatre again.

“I used to watch Stu Francis at the Albert Halls, I wanted to go into panto because of that!”

Matt, aged 40, got into magic after a bad accident falling from a tree at the age of nine left him with a shattered leg.

Off school for almost two years, his spare time was spent learning tricks with a Paul Daniels magic set – inspiring his future career.

When he first started out, Matt, who originally hails from Walkden, lived in Horwich, his home for 14 years.

His career began when he performed at children’s parties but he’s gone on to perform around the world.

He has also and featured on BBC1 and Channel 4, won a ‘Best in Europe’ magician trophy and been nominated for Entertainer of the Year.

He adds: “I’ve got to do what I wanted to do for 15 years, and I’m loving every second of it!”

Matt’s latest show Magique mixes his love of comedy, illusion and dance is touring from July, including dates in France and Spain in August.

He will then return to Bolton as PC Pong in this year’s panto, Aladdin, running from December 11 to 24.

Booking can be made by calling 0844 871 2932 or by visiting www.eticketing.co.uk/bwfc.