HE last performed here in 2007, but starring in this year’s panto at the Lighthouse in Poole will be like coming home for Ray Quinn – in more ways than one.

The former X-Factor finalist and Dancing on Ice winner has been living in an apartment on Poole Quay for the last year.

With new wife, Bournemouth-born West End star Emma Stephens expecting their first child in July, Ray is thrilled he’ll be home at Christmas.

“I just love it round here,” he said.

“We’ve worked in the West End, but we always came down to see her parents regularly,” he explained.

“Because I love it here, and I love the people here, we ended up buying somewhere here. It’s great, because I haven’t been home for Christmas for about six years.”

Ray currently stars in a touring production of Legally Blonde, which will be showing at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre next month.

He then goes in to a tour of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which will bring him back to the South Coast when it visits the Lighthouse.

From that it will be straight into rehearsals for Aladdin, in which Liverpudlian Ray plays the lead role.

He’s no stranger to panto, but there’s certainly no hiding Ray’s enthusiasm for this year’s show.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

“I’ve done panto a few times, but I’ve always played Prince Charming, so Aladdin will be quite fun.

“I get to interact a lot more with the audience this year. To do the song sheets and get the kids up on stage, I’ve always wanted to do that.

“Plus, I’m on the Quay, so I’ll be able to walk home.”

Having made his name in Channel 4 soap Brookside playing Anthony Murray, Ray came runner-up to Leona Lewis in the third series of the X-Factor in 2006.

He then starred in West End shows, and won Dancing on Ice in 2009.

Versatile is clearly his middle name and he knows it.

“I’ve trained in musical theatre since I was three, and danced all my life, so that’s all I know,” he said.

Aladdin will be at Lighthouse from December 7 to January 6.