Les Dennis will replace Paul Merton to join the cast of Hairspray as Wilbur Turnblad when a new production of the hit musical opens at the London Coliseum.

The comedian previously played the role on tour and will star opposite Michael Ball as he reprises the role of Edna Turnblad, for which he previously won an Olivier Award.

Merton had been due to play the role of Wilbur but is now unable to join the company due to long-standing scheduling commitments, following the delay to the production because of the pandemic.

The hit musical will run at the London Coliseum (Handout)

Lizzie Bea, who previously starred in the UK tour of Kinky Boots, will play the lead role of Tracy Turnblad, while West End star Marisha Wallace will take the role of Motormouth.

EastEnders star Rita Simons and Grantchester actor Jonny Amies will also join the cast as Velma Von Tussle and Link Larkin respectively.

Set in Baltimore in 1962, the show follows Tracy Turnblad in her hopes to make it on the local TV dance show and win the heart of teen heartthrob Link Larkin.

The original New York production of Hairspray won three Tony Awards, including best new musical, while the original West End production won four Olivier Awards, also including best new musical and best actor in a musical for Ball.

Hairspray will run at the London Coliseum from June 21 to September 29.