Eastenders star Steve McFadden talks Captain Hook as panto season arrives in Croydon
You always know the countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway when the Pantomime season kicks off.
This year Fairfield Halls is putting on Peter Pan and the show will have a distinct Eastenders feel to it with Steve McFadden, who plays Phil Mitchell in the TV series, starring as Captain Hook.
McFadden, who is one of the longest serving characters in EastEnders, was in Croydon last week to talk about his role, which he has played six times before in previous pantos.
The father of four says he looks forward to pantomime season, which forms an important part of his Christmas.
One of TV’s most popular baddies, McFadden says he is more than used to getting his fair share of stick from the audience.
He says: "I have never played a goodie before really. I don’t think the kids are scared of me, they are there to chuck custard pies at me and boo and hiss so they enjoy it I think.
"I have played Hook about five times now. "In terms of my character we are working on the idea of bringing it closer to Phil Mitchell this year.
"Although if you say that it can scare people so there is a bit of Bill Sykes in there as well.
"It is Phil Mitchell and Bill Sykes meets Captain Hook. I have done this character before with the wig and things but we are trying some different things this year.
"Just like Phil, Captain Hook is bad for reasons he believes in - Peter Pan got a crocodile to bite his arm off. I think I’d be slightly grumpy if someone did that to me."
McFadden is joined on stage by last year’s dame, Quinn Patrick, who plays Mrs Smee in this year’s production.
Peter Pan is played by David Ribi while Wendy is played by rising star Elizabeth Carter, who has recently toured Bill Kenwright’s new musical Save the Last Dance for Me.
The 54-year-old admits that if he isn’t playing a character in a pantomime then he is watching his friends in one.
He adds that after the ‘hamster wheel’ of TV scheduling he is happy to the stage in front of a live audience.
It also isn’t the first time the Eastender has been in Croydon, the last time being when he was 16 years old working as an apprentice plumber.
He says: "I’ve been to Croydon twice before - once to get a job and once to get the sack!" laughed Steve, 54, who plays Albert Square bad boy Phil Mitchell.
"I was doing a plumbing apprenticeship after I left school and they sacked me for having a bad attitude.
"I was working in a block called Butterfly House and had to go to Croydon to receive my marching orders. They’d given me a razor blade to scrape off all the makers’ stickers off the vitreous china bathroom suites on two 18 storey tower blocks.
"After three weeks they decided, because I wasn’t smiling enough or something, to get rid of me."
Peter Pan, Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, December 6 to January 5, performances before December 17 are £17, thereafter prices from £20 to £28, call 02086889291 or visit Fairfield.co.uk.
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