The stars of High School Musical 3 were met by a rapturous reception in London's West End on Tuesday night.

Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Corbin Bleu and Ashley Tisdale attended the Disney sequel's premiere in Leicester Square to be met by hundreds of screaming fans, as well as rows of dancers and basketball players lining the red carpet.

The first High School Musical instalment to be released in cinemas - its predecessors being made for the Disney Channel - High School Musical 3: Senior Year tells of lead characters Troy Bolton (Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Hudgens) confronting challenging decisions in their final year of school.

The new film, again directed by Kenny Ortega, also tracks the blossoming romance of Troy and Gabriella, who only kissed for the first time at the climax of the second film.

"I've always admired that about them, it builds up the tension and finally in High School Musical 3 it feels well deserved," Efron told the BBC.

"It's about time - we're seniors, we're adults."

Hudgens added: "It just shows their respect for each other - it's a really sweet and innocent love that doesn't need everything else."

Some 250 million viewers have watched High School Musical since its 2006 debut, according to Disney, with the soundtracks for the first film in the franchise and its subsequent sequel becoming global best sellers.

As well as launching the careers of leads Efron and Hudgens, the franchise has spawned a staggeringly popular range of merchandise and numerous school productions.

High School Musical 3 is released on October 22nd.

08/10/2008 12:51:22