Published: 06:00, 05 December 2019
| Updated: 08:39, 09 December 2019
He’s been an actor for decades, and a familiar face to many in soaps Holby City and, further back, EastEnders, yet Paul Bradley will step onto the stage in Tunbridge Wells this weekend as a baddie for the first time.
He won our hearts playing nice Nigel Bates in EastEnders from 1992 to 1998, and more recently played popular Elliot Hope in Holby City for 10 years - including a recent comeback for the show’s 20th anniversary last month.
So is he going to embrace his inner baddie, playing Captain Hook in the Assembly Hall Theatre’s panto Peter Pan this Christmas?
He said: “I haven’t been a baddie before. This will be my first proper baddie. When you read the original play that JM Barrie wrote, Hook was very posh - he was an Etonian, and quite a bully.
“I’m thinking you may even spot some Boris Johnson elements in my Hook.”
Well-read Nigel is very familiar with the tale. He says of the JM Barrie story: “It is a great story - one of the best stories I think.
“It is a glorious adventure. He says ‘to die would be a glorious adventure’.” It is a crash course for what the world is - the real world for children.”
It’s a first foray also into Kent for Paul. When asked to recall his visits to the county before, he can only think back to childhood holidays with his many siblings on the Isle of Sheppey.
Paul’s enjoying something of a resurgence, though his chances of being spotted in the street as one of his BBC soap characters never went away, having stepped back onto the Holby set very recently.
He says: “Holby was great. I loved it. But it went so quickly.
“It is such hard work but the thing is, you never get bored. It is a different story every week. It doesn’t get the attention of Casualty. And I absolutely love going back.”
Joining him for the swashbuckling adventure will be Lloyd Warbey from Disney’s Art Attack as Peter and Holly Atterton from Nick Junior’s Go Go Go as Tinker Bell.
Also starring is Hollyoaks star Sarah Jane Buckley as Mrs Darling and, returning for a third year as the Dame, will be Quinn Patrick as Mrs Smee.
For Quinn, his third time as Dame is like “a comfy pair of slippers”.
Quinn says: “It’s like a comfy pair of slippers. People like familiarity in panto. The more traditional it is, the better.
“They love a real groaner of a joke. They love the routines; they want magic. It is a time when all the family get together. There is a real feel for that.”
Quinn may be from Essex but, he says, he feels like Kent has adopted him. "Kent has been very kind to me."
The show is produced by Martin Dodd for UK Productions by arrangement with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Samuel French Ltd, in association with the Assembly Hall Theatre.
It gives audiences the chance to meet Peter and the lost boys, Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell and get ready for a family show full of fun, fairy dust and pirates galore.
Set sail for Neverland and take on Captain Hook and prepare for out-of-this-world flying effects, galleons of laughter and the hungriest of crocodiles.
Tunbridge Wells audiences are promised another year of spectacular sets, dazzling costumes and side-splitting comedy. The show is suitable for young ones - and those who never want to grow up.
* Peter Pan at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, runs from Saturday, December 7 until Sunday, January 5, 2020. Visit assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01892 530613.
More by this authorAngela Cole