DIANA Vickers has landed a leading role in a major West End musical.

The 18-year-old X Factor star from Huncoat will take on the role that shot fellow East Lancashire star Jane Horrocks, who is originally from Rawtenstall to fame – Laura in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

A rewritten production of the show – which was turned into the 1998 hit movie Little Voice – is thought to be nearing rehearsals stage and run by Nimax Theatres Ltd, which will open it in one of its larger theatres in October or November.

The company owns the Apollo, Duchess, Garrick, Lyric and Vaudeville theatres.

Becky Herbert, who taught Diana at the Pat Eaket School of dancing in Blackburn, said she was “thrilled” to hear the news.

She said: “It’s fantastic news for her.

“She is very intelligent and was always a natural on the stage.

“But she was a lot quieter when she was younger and we had to work with her to encourage her to come out of herself more.

“She has definitely done very well and we’re very proud of her.

“I think she will be very suited to the role.”

Diana’s manager said a press statement would be issued at a later date.

Jane Horrocks won acclaim in 1992 for her portrayal of Laura – a shy, lonely character who impersonates singers such as Edith Piaf and Shirley Bassey.

It played in the West End for 112 sell out performances from October 1992 until February 1993.

She reprised the role five years later when it hit the silver screen co-starring Sir Michael Caine.

It is believed that Jim Cartright who is from Farnworth, near Bolton, was inspired to write the play while working with Horrocks on his play Road.

She would warm up by doing impressions of singing legends Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, and Ethel Merman, among others, and so impressed was Cartright for her gift for mimicry, he wrote the play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice to showcase her talent.

Horrocks received a nod for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her perfor-mance in the 1992 West End production.

The 1998 screen adaptation earned her nominations for the Golden Globe Award for best actress – motion picture musical or comedy, the BAFTA for best actress in a leading role, the Satellite Award for best actress – motion picture musical or comedy, the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role – motion picture, and the British Independent Film Award for best actress.

Diana, a former Westholme School pupil came fourth in last year’s X Factor, behind band JLS, Eoghan Quigg and winner Alexandra Burke.

She is working on her debut album, having signed to label RCA.