CHRISTOPHER Biggins has announced his panto days are behind him as he prepares to take the final bow.

The grand dame of Pantomime, a regular on the Brighton theatre scene, has announced the curtain is due to fall on his 40 year panto career.

The 67-year-old told a national newspaper last year was "exhausting" and after a sabbatical he is going to close out his career in 2017.

His panto career began in 1965 when he played a rat in Dick Whittington and since then he has only missed one show on the Christmas stage due to a stint in I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here in 2007.

Biggins's most famous performance in Brighton was a three year stint performing at the Theatre Royal Brighton.

During the curtain call on his 1999 show when he played Mother Goose, Biggins was accosted by Michael Aspel and his famous red book on stage to be whisked away for an appearance on This Is Your Life.

He also appeared in The Boys in The Band in 2012 at the theatre and attended its 200th birthday party in 2007.

Biggins has also been involved with local causes including backing the Save the Hippodrome campaign, visiting HIV charity Sussex Beacon, and opening the king of the jungle exhibit at the Sea Life Brighton.

He even hosted the Palace Pier quiz night at the Tory party conference in 2010 before the Conservatives swept to power.

John Baldock, general manager of Theatre Royal Brighton, said: “Biggins is a huge theatre personality.

"He performed on our stage many times, directed shows here and also came as an audience member.

"He was loved by our audiences as well as by our staff. We all wish him a long and happy retirement.”

During his I'm a Celebrity stint he was crowned king of the jungle and was known for his catchphrase "naughty naughty".

In an interview last year, Biggins lamented the fact 60 of his nearest and dearest had died in 18 months including television personality Cilla Black and romance author Jackie Collins .

Biggins, based in London, said in another interview in December he did not "like acting any more" and was considering quitting when he hit 70.