The 59-year-old actress had been cast as the character of Mother Nature in Newcastle’s Times Square pantomime but had to be replaced by an understudy today following her departure.
According to The Sun, a source claims the show was a “total shambles” behind the scenes with “unprofessional staff”.
They said: “The panto wasn’t ready to open when it was due to this Monday, so the first two days of shows were cancelled. Sets weren’t finished, a technical rehearsal set for last Friday couldn’t go ahead because the production was running so behind.
“Another rehearsal was a total disaster, and then cast weren’t being paid on time or at all. At one point, an Equity rep had to be called in to mediate.
“A few days into panto rehearsals, Denise and other cast started getting concerned as it wasn’t very professional at all because no-one seemed to know what they were doing.”
Denise has spoken out regarding her exit, but didn’t reveal the reason behind her leaving due to “legal reasons”.
In a statement obtained by The Mirror, she said: “I am so terribly upset and hugely disappointed that I will no longer be appearing in the Times Square Pantomime in Newcastle.
“Those who know me and have supported me during my 40-year career will know how passionate I am about my job, Newcastle and it’s people.
“All I ever wanted was to star in a fabulous, spectacular pantomime that I have been proudly publicising since February. If there was anything I could do to change this highly regrettable situation I would. Legally, I can say no more but I write this with a heavy heart.”
The production, which also stars Emmerdale’s Adam Thomas as Jack, is scheduled to run for three weeks.
Denise’s departure comes days after she posted a cryptic message to her Instagram account.
The former Loose Women star puzzled her followers with her post that read: “I am very strong. But sometimes while I’m being strong, I’m also hyper ventilating and my heart is pounding out of my chest. Also, I might cry and swear a lot. That’s just how I roll.”
Many of 16,000 followers reached out the star’s concerning message.
One said: “You an inspiration Denise love your posts keep chin up as my mum would say xxx.” (sic)
The Express.co.uk has contacted Denise’s representatives and pantomime organisers for a comment.