DIE-HARD panto fans queued all night in freezing temperatures to buy tickets for York Theatre Royal’s production next Christmas.

Panto dame Berwick Kaler may have only just hung up his wig and frock after a successful run of Aladdin And The Twankeys but the theatre today put tickets on sale for his next pantomime, Old Mother Goose.

Hundreds were queuing down St Leonard’s Place and round the corner into Duncombe Place when the box office opened at 9am, and right at the front was Peter Newton, of South Bank, who started queueing at 5.45 pm yesterday, and Rita Wells, from near Boroughbridge, who joined him in the queue at 5.55pm.

After surviving a frosty night, they were greeted in person by Berwick, dressed in full panto gear.

Mr Newton said he wanted to ensure he got tickets in the right seats on the right night for the sake of his grandson Kyle, who was autistic and disliked change, and always wanted to sit in the same seat in the dress circle each year.

Rita said she was buying four tickets for herself and 20 tickets on behalf of the boss of JC Lister Farm near Boroughbridge, who wanted to treat her family with a visit to the panto.

Third in the queue was Debra Allen from Keighley, who arrived at 3am and said she came over to York every January with her family for a trip to the panto - a treat which was slightly sullied this year when her father was fined for crossing Lendal Bridge.

Berwick hailed the fans, saying: "I have just said to one lady I would have retired at 65 if it wasn't for this lot. I absolutely adore them."

• Old Mother Goose will run from Thursday December 11 until Saturday January 31, 2015. Tickets can be bought over the phone from 9am on Monday by calling 01904 623568.