BERWICK Kaler is to return to York's Grand Opera House next Christmas with another spectacular panto, it was confirmed today.

Britain's longest serving panto dame will return in The Adventures of Old Granny Goose with at least two of his traditional co-stars David Leonard and AJ Powell.

But there is no confirmation - as yet - of a return of the two other key members of the panto gang, Berwick's traditional sidekick Martin Barrass and Suzy Cooper.

Berwick Kaler said he couldn't wait to welcome 'Me Babbies and Bairns' back to the Grand Opera House, but warned that he was 'under the not unreasonable delusion that I’m far too young to play a granny - so brace yourself to expect the unexpected.'

Producer Martin Dodd said it was 'truly a privilege' to be working with Berwick and his co-stars, including the 'deliciously devilish' David Leonard and the 'lovely Brummie' AJ Powell, with further casting to be announced.

"I really am excited to be presenting this fabulously unique and much-loved pantomime that is as much a part of the York Christmas tradition as Turkey (or Goose!) and stuffing," he said. "We can promise a cracking good show full of laughter, music, and mayhem."

A Grand Opera House spokeswoman said the return of the panto would give audiences a chance to discover for themselves why Berwick and his team had become a 'true rock of family entertainment' over many decades, with their hilarious anarchic approach to pantomime.

"It's wonderfully madcap and is truly enjoyed by all ages," she said.

"You may not remember the plot, but you will remember the laughs during the winter months."

She said the panto would be brought to York by UK Productions, who had been producing Christmas pantomimes across the UK for nearly 30 years.

"During the 2022/23 season, they will produce 11 pantomimes of their own and provide productions to approximately another 30 nationwide," she said.

"Other productions include musicals and plays in the West End and on tour nationally and internationally and this year they will produce their first play, The Kite Runner, on Broadway."

Berwick, 75, was a stalwart of pantomimes at York Theatre Royal for four decades until he retired in retired after the 2018/19 panto.

He subsequently decided retirement was a mistake and decided to return to the stage across the city centre at the Grand Opera House in December 2020, only for the production to be scuppered by a Covid lockdown.

The panto went ahead in December 2021, with Berwick laughing off the punishing schedule of two pantos almost every day. However, he was unable to appear on the final few days of the run in January after testing positive - although he did not experience symptoms.