Reality stars bring festive cheer to Sunderland

Alison Hammond (right) with Dancing on Ice star Andrei Lipanov and skater Anna Watson on the ice rink in Keel Square

Alison Hammond (right) with Dancing on Ice star Andrei Lipanov and skater Anna Watson on the ice rink in Keel Square

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Empire panto star Alison Hammond got in the festive spirit at the city centre’s latest attraction.

The This Morning presenter took a break from rehearsals of Aladdin at Sunderland Empire to check out the Christmas ice rink at Keel Square.

She was joined by Dancing on Ice star Andrei Lipanov who is leading ice skating sessions on the rink.

The ice rink is proving to be a star attraction at the Frost Village, which has been set up at the new square for the festive period.

Alison, who shot to fame on Big Brother, is gearing up for her lead role as Slave of the Ring in Aladdin, which opens on December 11.

She will be joined by Coronation Street’s Terence Maynard as Abanazar, Derek Moran (Channel 5’s Milkshake) as Wishee Washee and North East-born Ian Good who will be taking on the role as Dame (Widow Twankey) and director.

Alison, who was a crowd favourite on Strictly Come Dancing 2014, and Andrei compared notes on their times in dancing reality shows.

Andrei, who taught celebrities such as Bonnie Langford for Dancing on Ice, will be offering lessons at the open air rink throughout the festive period. This forms part of a wider programme of activities organised by Sunderland BID, which also includes ice discos, a Christmas market and a fun fair on the former Vaux site.

•For more information and a full line up of festive activities visit www.sunderlandchristmas.co.uk

•Tickets for Aladdin are available via www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland