OH yes she is? One of Bournemouth’s pantomime stars, ex-Eastenders actress Rita Simons, has reportedly been approached by I’m a Celebrity bosses to take part in this year’s series.

But the 41-year-old actress who played Roxy Mitchell in the soap, was remaining tight-lipped at the launch of Sleeping Beauty on Monday.

“I can’t say anything at the moment,” she told Leisure Live. “All I can tell you is that I’m on a restricted rehearsal schedule.”

Rita is set to play Carabosse in this year’s pantomime at the Pavilion, although Jennifer Ellison will take on the role from Saturday, December 8 to Wednesday, December 12.

“I have very little rehearsal time,” Rita admitted.

“But I’m used to that. Last year I finished at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre and I had just two days of rehearsals before the pantomime opened.

“It was slightly stressful but I like that I’m busy - I would rather be busy and stressed than not busy and stressed.”

According to several national newspapers reports, Rita’s team feel that the jungle could prove good for her despite the fact she is alleged to have several mental health conditions. (The mother of two is said to have a combination of ADHD, insomnia, anxiety and OCD).

The popular reality TV show is set to air in November although the names of confirmed contestants remain under wraps.

In the meantime Rita says she is looking forward to being based in Bournemouth for a while.

“This is my fourth panto - I like playing the baddie as I like being able to have a bit of banter with the audience.

“I haven’t been to Bournemouth for years and when I travelled up here this morning I was really excited to be back here - it’s so much nicer than other places I’ve had to work in!”

Before her acting career, Rita was in the band Girls@Play. They had a couple of hit singles before splitting up.

“The last time I was here was when I was with my girl band. We had such a great time - we did a lot of partying and we got the chance to sail on a Sunseeker so I’ve got some good memories of the place.”

Rita added that her 12-year-old twins were looking forward to seeing her on stage in Bournemouth.

Pantomime is such a British tradition. My dad now lives in Alabama with his wife who doesn’t get it at all. It’s like our British club - we’ve grown up with it. It’s always been a family tradition for us. My mum used to take me to pantomimes when I was a kid and now she takes my kids. They came to see me eight or nine times last year - they always know every word to every show that I do!”

Rita was a familiar face in Albert Square for ten years before she was dramatically killed off two years ago. Since then her roles have included playing hairdresser Paulette Bonafonte in Legally Blonde The Musical.

Now she says she has set her sights on making a name for herself in the States.

So a high profile show like I’m A Celebrity could be the way forward.

“I’ve got lots going on at the moment and and yes maybe a little reality TV too,” she adds with a grin.

  • Sleeping Beauty also stars pantomime favourites Olivia Birchenough (Milkshake!) as Princess Briar Rose, Noel Brodie as Silly Billy and David Ball as Nursie.

This year’s pantomime is by the same producers who brought Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk in previous years. They promise a family show “packed with great songs, amazing dance routines and plenty of laughter”.

Tickets are now on sale ranging from £19.50 to £22.50. Sleeping Beauty is at Bournemouth Pavilion from December 8 to January 6.

To book, call 0844 576 3000 or go online at bhlivetickets.co.uk