X FACTOR star Marcus Collins has been named as the replacement lead for this year’s Princes Theatre pantomime in Clacton.

Dancing on Ice star and X Factor runner-up Ray Quinn was due to play Peter Pan but was forced to pull out of the show.

Theatre bosses said he pulled out due to circumstances beyond the control of both the Tendring Council-run venue and production company Polka Dot Pantomimes.

But the theatre has now announced that Marcus, 30, will step into Peter Pan’s boots for the winter spectacle.

Marcus, who was the runner-up to Little Mix in the X Factor in 2011, will be returning to the theatre after performing Motown hits there alongside a seven-piece band in October 2014.

Since appearing on the X-Factor Marcus has played Seaweed Stubbs in an award-winning version of Hairpsray, joined the cast of West End Men, and won critical acclaim for his performances in the London West End original cast of Tony Award and six-time Olivier Award winning musical Kinky Boots.

Mick Skeels, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said he was delighted the singer would star at the panto.

Budding performers are also being invited to audition for a part in this year’s panto, taking to the stage alongside the professional West End cast.

Producers are looking for boys to play the principal roles of Michael and John, children to play Nana and Cros and the lost boys, and an all-signing all-dancing chorus.

Auditions are being held at the Princes Theatre today, June 15, from 5pm to 6pm for Michaels and Johns, and 6.30 to 8.30pm for other roles. Children must be no younger than nine by September 1 2018, and parents cannot watch the auditions.

Audition packs – for which two recent photos are required – can be picked up at the Visitor Information Centre or by calling Polka Dot Pantomimes on 01775 712359.