A ROUSING reception greeted Strictly Come Dancing star Dani Harmer as she got straight back into the York panto spirit following her last performance in the BBC dance contest.

Dani, who is the leading lady in Cinderella at York’s Barbican, reached the Strictly final on Saturday night but she and her partner Vincent Simone could not make it through to the last three, with the trophy going to Olympic gymnast Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace.

Audiences at Saturday’s Cinderella performances were urged to vote for Dani, who was back on stage yesterday.

The Tracy Beaker actress said: “I still can’t believe I was in the final – we never expected to win, so all I’m devastated about is that it's over, although the panto is a really nice distraction and everybody has been absolutely amazing.

"It has been difficult to juggle two things, but everybody has bent over backwards for me. I’m grateful to everybody who voted for me and, considering I came back to York at 6am on Sunday after the Strictly end-of-show party, I’m just glad I got through the first panto performance without messing up.”

Cinderella director and co-producer Antony Stuart-Hicks said: “Everybody involved in the pantomime is proud of Dani for getting so far – she has been absolutely brilliant in managing her commitments both to Strictly and to Cinderella.

“She got straight back to York, did a full dress rehearsal and was raring to go. It has been a busy time for her, but she has been fantastic and such a professional.”

Cinderella continues at the Barbican until December 30 and ticket details are at yorkbarbican.co.uk.