EASTENDERS favourites Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace will star in Robin Hood in Southampton this Christmas, the Daily Echo can exclusively reveal.

The much-loved pair have won numerous awards and millions of fans for their portrayal of Walford’s favourite couple Kat and Alfie. Robin Hood marks their first pantomime appearance together with Shane in the title role and Jessie as his beautiful Maid Marion.

Audiences are being urged to grab their merry men and get ready for a sheriff-busting, arrow-shooting, tights-wearing, hog-roasting extravaganza in the South Coast's biggest family pantomime this December.

Shane’s numerous television credits include Oliver Twist, Skins, New Tricks and Minder, but he is best known for playing Alfie Moon on BBC1’s longest-running soap, a part written especially for him. He has also hosted a number of high-profile game shows and appeared on stage in Grease and Boogie Nights.

Shane and Jessie recently completed filming their own six-part drama series based on their EastEnders characters’ lives in Ireland. They are currently starring in a UK tour of Peter James' The Perfect Murder.

Jessie Wallace has become a national treasure thanks to her performances as Kat Slater for the last 15 years. Her other television credits include The Bill and Wild at Heart. She has also appeared in the West End productions of Rent and Haunted, took part in Strictly Come Dancing and made her pantomime debut last year.

Mayflower Theatre Chief Executive Michael Ockwell said: “Pantomime is always an important highlight of our year at Mayflower Theatre and we are delighted to be bringing such a well-loved pairing in Shane and Jessie to lead our cast of Robin Hood.

"With their undeniable chemistry they will undoubtedly be the perfect Robin Hood and Maid Marion in what will be the ultimate panto to see on the South Coast."

Robin Hood will be staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer, and the company behind the theatre’s previous record-breaking productions of Aladdin and Cinderella.

Tickets are on sale now from 023 8071 1811 or mayflower.org.uk.

It will run from Saturday December 17 2016 to Sunday January 8 2017.