COMEDIAN Dara O’Briain has called for Brighton’s Hippodrome theatre to be saved.

The host of BBC’s Mock The Week, a Theatres Trust trustee, spoke out at the unveiling of its most “at risk” list.

The Hippodrome is at the top for the fifth consecutive year.

The comic said the at-risk venues were a waste of potential and urged councils to view them as opportunities, not liabilities.

He said: “They are at risk of being lost for ever but they are also so achingly close to being saved.”

The Grade II* listed Hippodrome in Middle Street is considered the finest surviving example of its type by the Theatres Trust.

It was built as an ice rink in 1897 and converted into a 1,400-seat variety theatre in 1902 by Frank Matcham.

Its future has been hanging in the balance since it closed in 2006, after 40 years as a bingo hall.

The theatre has hosted performers such as Dusty Springfield, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Harry Houdini in its 120-year history.

In November 2017, it was sold by Academy Music Group to investor and property developer Aized Sheikh, who is also behind the redevelopment of Teville Gate in Worthing.

The Argus revealed in November that the developer intends to turn the site into a luxury hotel – but it is currently unclear as to whether these plans will go ahead.

David Fisher, director of Brighton Hippodrome Community Interest Group, said it was “disappointing” to see the theatre top the list yet again. He added: “It’s very sad that Brighton should be in this position of not having a theatre of that size. It’s really very frustrating.”

The 2018 list features 35 buildings across England, Scotland and Wales that the trust believes are most in danger of being lost – through demolition, loss of funding, lack of maintenance or neighbouring development.

But the Theatres Trust believe the power lies in the local authorities to give them a new lease of life.

Dara O’Briain said: “They are not on this list because they are beautiful ruins.

“They’re here because they are just a few good decisions from living again, of taking their place at the heart of their communities, of entertaining further generations.”

Jon Morgan, director of Theatres Trust, said: “These venues are opportunities for local authorities to support and stimulate their local economy, provide a focus for local pride and act as an important community resource.”