A DOG has been sacked from a stage production of Oliver! because it was stealing the limelight.

Bull terrier Bronx won the role of Bill Sykes's dog in the Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society's current production at Cliffs Pavilion.

But he has been booted out after distracting the cast and audience with his bizarre stage antics. Owner Edward James said: "He flaps his leg around like Thumper, stamping on the ground.

"He got on stage when Bill Sykes was having a romantic moment with Nancy and started doing his stage dance, with his leg going up and down. Everyone just started laughing."

The show will continue until Saturday without a dog on stage.

Former society member and EastEnders actress Kara Tointon is expected at tonight's performance.