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Sleep heads for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Story by Jack Foley

HAVING survived the rigours of the jungle in reality TV show, I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! (and re-established a name for himself in the process), Wayne Sleep's career revival continues apace.

The former Royal Ballet principal is to make a return to the West End stage as The Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Sleep will take over for a short three-month run, from July 24, replacing the current Child Catcher, Derek Griffiths.

The role was originated on stage by Rocky Horror creator, Richard O'Brien, and has also been played by Paul O'Grady.

Sleep is an accomplished performer on the London stage, having appeared with the aforementioned Royal Ballet, as well as his own company, DASH.

He has also starred in the West End productions of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats and Song and Dance. He received an OBE in 1998.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a lavish stage version of the classic children's novel, written by Ian Fleming (the man behind 007).

The £6.2 million musical, which is also based on the famous 1968 children's film, opened on April 16, 2002, and is booking up until March 13, 2004. It is currently the most expensive production in the West End - although the forthcoming Lord of the Rings musical is expected to surpass that.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, adapted by Jeremy Sams; Original music by the Sherman brothers; Directed by Adrian Noble; Choreographer, Gillian Lynne; Design, Anthony Ward. CAST: Caroline Sheen (as Truly Scrumptious), Victor Spinetti (Baron Bomburst), Sandra Dickinson (Baroness Bomburst) and Anton Rodgers (Grandpa Potts). NOTE: Michael Ball, who currently plays the eccentric inventor, Caractacus Potts, is contracted to remain until July 19. No replacement has yet been announced. London Palladium.

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