BETTER known for being part of a duo, Mark Rhodes will be holding all the spotlight when it comes to this year’s Anvil pantomime.

Mark will play the leading role in this year’s production of Aladdin, but for the man who shot to fame with his TV partner Sam Nixon, who both got the breakthrough the Pop Idol show.

Now a regular face on the pantomime circuit, this is a bit of a return to an old stomping ground for the singer as Basingstoke was where he made his panto debut in Jack and the Beanstalk back in 2015.

And in taking on the role of Aladdin, Mark said he has been able to play around with the traditional ideas.

He told the Gazette: “There are actually a number of different iterations of the Aladdin story, not just the big money cooperation one that most people know.

“So, it has allowed me to further explore the character and flesh out the songs and jokes that we want to hit with this show.

“For me doing pantomimes is all about making people laugh, we want people to come in and let themselves be immersed in the show and have a good time.”

As well as returning to the scene of his first ever panto performance, Mark is once again teaming up with Chris Pizzey who is playing Wishee Washee in the production, but all directing the whole thing.

Mark continued: “Chris actually got me into the panto world so I will always owe that to him.

“I don’t envy him though, because I just come in and learn my lines and choreography and that’s it, where as Chris has to do all that plus direct the show and make sure everything runs smoothly.

“I couldn’t do what he does.”

Despite making a name for himself initially through Pop Idol, it was Sam & Mark’s Big Friday Wind Up which really gained recognition which he and Sam received two Children’s BAFTA’s.

It is this approach to children’s entertainment which makes Mark the ideal person to take on the role of Aladdin.

He adds: “As I have said it is all about the laughter for me.

“But if you can get children laughing then that is just infectious and that can then just create a wall of noise from the audience and that is what you want to as a performer.”

Even though Basingstoke may be where it all started in the panto world for Mark, he is no stranger to the role of Aladdin, having taken up the role for several national productions of the show.

So to see Mark bring his Aladdin to life once again the show will be performed at the Anvil from December 12 to January 5.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the show visit