Nigel Harman was delighted to win the role of Simon Cowell in Harry Hill’s I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical, but he was slightly nervous when the music mogul turned up to watch a performance at the weekend!

“I saw him on Saturday after he came to see the show and thankfully he really enjoyed it,” says former EastEnders star Nigel. “The more he got it in the neck the more he laughed. I was mightily relieved!”

Nigel will be presenting the Laurence Olivier Theatre Awards alongside Leigh Zimmerman from the Royal Opera House next month.

After winning an award himself in 2012 for his role as Lord Farquaad in the West End production of Shrek the Musical, Nigel knows how stiff the competition will be and is looking forward to being able to enjoy the ceremony without any nerves.

“It’s going to be a fun night – all I have to do is say ‘and the winner is…’ – it’s a pretty simple gig!”

Despite his exploits in the West End, TV viewers will remember Nigel as Downton Abbey’s villainous valet Green, but he says he had no idea his character would cause such a stir in the last series of the hit ITV period drama.

“I thought that because Green was an outsider it’d be better if I didn’t go mad on Downton box sets,” he explains. “So when I read the storyline I didn’t realise how it would fit in. I thought they must have big events all the time alongside the jam-tasting. I didn’t realise it was the big event of the season!”

The Olivier Awards will air on ITV on Sunday, April 13.

See all the Olivier Award nominations here.