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Also showing: Sleeping Beauty JUST thinking of their opening performance gives Linda Lusardi goosebumps.

The mum-of-two believes nothing says Christmas like the sound of an auditorium full of excited children.

Playing the wicked witch, Carabosse, in Darlington Civic Theatre's pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, Linda looks forward to listening from her dressing room.

"It's magical," says the star who shot to fame in the 80s as one of Britain's best loved models.

She laughs as she recalls: "I remember going to the pantomime as a child and crying because I was so excited."

Today she loves being part of that same magic.

Starring in pantomime since 1988 it has become an integral part of Linda's Christmas.

And Darlington holds an extra special place in her heart as that is where she first met husband, Sam Kane, performing in Snow White in 1994. They married four years later.

This year stage and TV actor Sam takes the roles of director and Henchman in Sleeping Beauty - their 15th time performing panto together.

"Darlington is always a pleasure to come to," says Sam, whose TV break came in 1995 as the loveable hairdresser Peter Phelan on Brookside.

"We both love the theatre and we especially love to come back for pantomime."

The couple will be joined in the school holidays by their children Lucy, 16, and Jack, 13.

As a semi-finalist on BBC's Celebrity MasterChef in 2011 and winner of Celebrity Come Dine With Me its fair to say Linda is pretty confident in the kitchen.

But with just Christmas Day off this year the family will enjoy Christmas dinner at "a nice hotel".


HECTIC TIME AHEAD: For Linda Lusardi, Sam Kane and Zoe Birkett in Sleeping Beauty Picture by IAN McINTYRE
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 7, 2012
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