"NEW lamps for old", rings out Abanazar's familiar cry as he goes about his deception in Aladdin, but this year it has extra significance at the Grand Opera House in York.

Goodbye to Simon Barry's uninspired New Pantomime Productions shows, now there is a new producer in town, Three Bears Productions, whose flyers for Aladdin carry the tagline A Wish Come True!.

Billed as “York’s biggest ever panto”, Chris Moreno, Stuart Wade and Russ Spencer's show promises “spectacular 3D" special effects to go with a cast of Wade's Wishee Washee, two panto stalwarts in dancer Debbie McGee and erstwhile Emmerdale soap star Frazer Hines, alongside Nick Jr’s Carl Tracey and Hear’Say singer and Dancing On Ice winner Suzanne Shaw,The Chase's panto debutant Paul Sinha and Steve Wickenden’s dame, Widow Twankey.

Both Debbie and Frazer have appeared in Grand Opera House pantomimes previously. "I was here in 1995 with Paul, when we did Dick Whittington as our first ever pantomime together," says Debbie, recalling her panto debut with her husband, the magician Paul Daniels.

"I remember we had these two horses in the show that the audience could hear clip-clopping out of the theatre after their appearance, and they'd walk around the dressing rooms being fed carrots too! It was a good experience, that show!"

York Press:

Frazer Hines as the Emperor in Aladdin at the Grand Opera House, York. Picture: David Harrison

Frazer, meanwhile, appeared in Cinderella alongside Deborah McAndrew, once Angie Freeman in Coronation Street and now a successful playwright for such companies as Northern Broadsides and Mikron Theatre, and Australian soap actress Anne Charleston, alias Madge in Neighbours. "I was Buttons and had black hair back then, and I had to leap out of a box" he recalls.

Now they return to the Opera House, this time cast as the Genie of the Ring and the Emperor respectively in Aladdin. "There's a lot of different age groups in the cast, and what's good is that Frazer and I have known each other for years and though we didn't know any of the others, now we've all met together and got on well," says Debbie. "We'll give 100 per cent," says Frazer, backing up Debbie's enthusiasm.

"I have a great affinity with York as I have family here," Debbie reminisces. "With all my years with Paul, we've done shows here and the people in York love their theatre and music and they're really up for panto, so they'll give us as much as we give them."

Debbie and producer Chris Moreno have met for lunch once a fortnight for years, which has led to her involvement in Aladdin in her first pantomime since Paul Daniels died in March. "Chris said he was doing panto in York this Christmas, 'do you want to be in it?'," she recalls.

"He said 'I'll write something for you'. I'm known as a giggler so I know he'll write something for me to giggle with, though it won't be self-indulgent."

On a more serious note, Debbie is facing her first Christmas without Paul. "I constantly forward-think about how it might affect me, so that when it comes, I have prepared for it, so that I don't swell on what it was like before.

"Paul lived in the moment; we were never backward-looking. I don't get that voice in my head. I live in the moment and my constant thought is that I was so lucky to have had Paul in my life for so long and we were so happy together".

Three Bears Productions’ debut York pantomime, Aladdin, will run at the Grand Opera House from December 9 to January 1, 2017.Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york