Former EastEnders star Shaun Williamson tells us about his new role as panto villain Captain Hook…

Shaun Williamson has a starring role in panto Peter Pan as Captain Hook – and he’s hoping to break some box-office records!

Shaun Williamson reveals all to Soaplife

Soaplife: What are you doing right now, Shaun?

Shaun Williamson: “I’m walking through the Kent countryside, learning my lines for my role of Captain Hook in the panto, Peter Pan, which I’m appearing in at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. I like learning lines this way rather than in a room at home. The words go in easier and I can speak at the top of my voice without anyone thinking I’m mad!”

S: Is this the first time you’ve played Captain Hook in panto?… For tickets and more details on Peter Pan, please visit: www.marlowetheatre.com

SW: “The second. I played him for the first time last year in Crawley. We broke all panto box office records there and I’m hoping we’ll do the same in Canterbury this year. We’re certainly selling very well. Hook is the ultimate pantomime villain. They don’t come any better!”

S: So, how many pantos have you done?

SW: “About 15. I thought that was quite a lot until I got talking to Ian Lavender [who plays Derek Harkinson in EastEnders]. He’s done about 47, which makes me look like a beginner!”

S: Does doing panto get you into a Christmas mood?

SW: “It’s lovely being surrounded by happy and excited kids, and all the sparkle and glitter. But it does muck your own celebrations up a bit as you only get Christmas Day off.”

S: You’re co-starring in Peter Pan with Wendi Peters, who played Cilla Battersby-Brown in Corrie. Will there be much talking soap?

SW: “I’m sure there will be. Like Barry Evans, my character in EastEnders, Cilla was larger than life in Corrie. We’re bound to start comparing notes. There are also references to Barry and Cilla in the script.”

S: Was playing an iconic soap character such as Barry a blessing or a curse?

SW: “He’s certainly the gift that keeps on giving, because people just haven’t forgotten him. I don’t think they ever will.”

S: What’s in store for you next year?

SW: “Next year, you’ll see me in the BBC comedy, Mister Winner. Before that, though, I’ll be off to the Caribbean to sing cabaret classics on a couple of cruise ships!”