WIRRAL-born presenter Paul O'Grady is to play one of the lead characters in a production of classic musical Annie that will be staged next year.

The TV star and comedian, originally from Birkenhead,will star as Miss Hannigan in the show at the Liverpool Empire from June 5-10.

He will also appear in the show at Newcastle Theatre Royal (March 7–11) Edinburgh Playhouse (March 21–25), Mayflower, Southampton (April 24 - 29), Dublin Bord Gais Energy Theatre (August 28-September 2), Dublin Bord Gais Energy Theatre (August 28-September 2) and Bristol Hippodrome (November 20–25).

Paul, a BAFTA-Award winning television, radio and stage star, returns to Annie having first played the role of Miss Hannigan at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1998.

His other theatre credits include playing the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium and many pantomimes including Cinderella and Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the London Palladium.

On television he is best known as the host of ITV’s Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs, Paul O’Grady’s Great British Escape, The Paul O’Grady Show, Channel 4’s Blind Date and BBC One’s Blankety Blank.

He is also a highly celebrated writer, having written both autobiographical and fictional books and recently completed a 14-year run as a presenter on BBC Radio 2.

Casting for the role of 'Miss Hannigan' in other venues on the tour to be announced in due course. For details, see www.anniethemusicaltour.uk

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan's orphanage.

Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search…

With its award-winning book and score, this stunning production includes the unforgettable songs It's the Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don't Need Anything But You and Tomorrow.

Annie has music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin and a Book by Thomas Meehan.

It is directed by Curve's Artistic Director Nikolai Foster with set and costume design by Colin Richmond, choreography by Nick Winston, lighting by Ben Cracknell and sound design by Richard Brooker.