CHRISTMAS came early to Hampshire as a host of stars officially launched Mayflower pantomime Peter Pan at Southampton International Boat Show.

Despite the Indian Summer, shipmates Darren Day, Jaymi Hensley, The Grumbleweeds and Cassie Compton got into the festive spirit by dressing up in their panto finest and scaling the rigging of a tall ship.

Show-goers looked on in amazement as the celebrities got ship shape.

Packed to the crows-nest with laugh-out-loud comedy, spectacular special effects, music and action, Peter Pan is set to be one high flying pantomime adventure when it opens in December.

Brought to the stage by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer and the team behind Southampton's panto for the last seven years, the swashbuckling adventure will star former Wet Wet Wet frontman and musical theatre favourite Marti Pellow as Captain Hook.

He will take on Jaymi Hensley of X Factor and Union J fame, who is set to appear as Peter Pan.

Television and stage star Darren Day plays Smee, retro comics The Grumbleweeds will provide lots of laughs as The Pirates and X Factor finalist and celebrated musical theatre actress Cassie Compton is Wendy.

They are joined by acrobats The Timbuktu Tumblers, direct from Cirque Berserk in the West End.

Jaymi Hensley told the Daily Echo: "I've never been a big fan of Christmas but doing panto makes me love it. Appearing in Peter Pan in Birmingham last year was the best thing I've ever done career wise and looking at the cast we've got this year in Southampton, I think it's going to be even better.

"Peter Pan is my favourite character to play. I have sometimes struggled with characters I don't have much in common with, but Peter Pan I can really relate to! I think everyone understands why he didn't ever want to grow up! He's just a kid standing up for what is right and that's a great message for young kids."

Darren Day added: "It can often be children's first visit to the theatre and how much they enjoy the show can shape their entire theatre-going life. I always love doing panto but I'm really excited this year with my kids being the age they are. My youngest will be eight and he has his own Captain Hook costume complete with authentic hook he was allowed to keep when I played Hook! I stepped into the role in this show in Birmingham last year and I can tell you it's something very special."

This year’s production will feature original music written by Pellow, an eye-popping galleon, magical special effects and the biggest crocodile ever seen on the south coast.

Peter Pan runs from December 14 to January 5 2020.

Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or