LARGER than life TV star Lisa Riley enjoyed having the whip hand at Darlington's Civic Theatre yesterday, as she was unveiled as the ring mistress in this year's panto Goldilocks And The Three Bears.

The 27-year-old, famous for playing Mandy Dingle in ITV soap Emmerdale and hosting You've Been Framed, staged a Press conference when she announced that her recipe for success was being "fat and funny".

"The biggest surprise for the Darlington audiences will be when I do the splits," she said.

"Everyone goes 'Oh! How the hell can she do that?'

"I've just started warming up. All I need is a lot of Deep Heat (muscle rub) and a lot of stretching. My dressing room will smell like a football team's dressing room."

Lisa was announced as the panto star alongside father and son comedy double act Clive Webb and Danny Adams. The trio enjoyed a panto run at Swansea last year and were booked for Darlington, where Lisa plays the show's narrator.

She has just handed over her six-year job presenting You've Been Framed to Godspell singer Jonathan Wilkes after opting to star in a one-off episode of the BBC daytime soap, Doctors, and film another series of ITV's Fat Friends.

The Doctors storyline will feature her as a big woman worrying about fertility.

"It's a really nice story and shows that being fat doesn't stop people conceiving," Lisa said.

"I don't know what I weigh. It could be 33-and-a-half stone.

"During the panto run we'll be playing the Make Yourself Fat game, where you see how quickly you can eat a whole bag of Starbursts."

Goldilocks And The Three Bears will run from December 4 this year to January 18, 2004.