Darren Day returns to Royal & Derngate 18 years after he first starred in Northampton panto

TV personality Darren Day, comedy band The Grumbleweeds and dance troupe Flawless have been announced as this year's swashbuckling Royal & Derngate stars of panto.

Darren Day, better known for his reality television appearances and early West End days in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, will star as this years dastardly Captain Hook - his third consecutive year in the role.

The Grumbleweeds, Flawless, Abigail Dever and Darren Day make up this year's pantomime cast.

The Grumbleweeds, Flawless, Abigail Dever and Darren Day make up this year's pantomime cast.

He told the Chronicle & Echo at the press launch today (September 19): “The last time I was in Northampton for pantomime was 18 years ago - I played Prince Charming. That’s what is ironic about the journey you go on in this business. I’ve gone from Prince Charming to the villain and it’s so much more fun.

“Back in the day I made a living out of playing those romantic leads but a few years ago someone said: 'you should think about playing the baddie as it’s a whole new level'...and I love playing the baddie now.”

The show - which runs from Friday, December 7, until December 30 - promises to be packed to the rafters with laugh-out-loud comedy, spectacular special effects, music and action.

Darren added that the role of the infamous Captain Hook is based on his previous role of Danny Houston who he played during his one year stint while he was in the cast of Hollyoaks in 2010.

Produced by Qdos Entertainment, Peter Pan promises to bring the festive magic to Northamptons pantomime this year.

Produced by Qdos Entertainment, Peter Pan promises to bring the festive magic to Northamptons pantomime this year.

“The first time I did captain Hook I came out of Hollyoaks and I was playing an east-end gangster so my Hook was based really upon my character on screen," he added.

The former I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! contestant has been performing in pantomimes since 1989 and next year will mark his 30th year on stage.

Describing the appeal of pantomime he said: "It’s a couple of things for me. One, the fact that it's one of those concepts that appeals to all generations. It's always so lovely to look out and see three generations of people - I think that’s amazing.

"But taking it a little bit more seriously than that for a lot of kids it is probably their first visit to the theatre.

Darren Day has most recently starred in Sky TV comedy Stella, Holby City and Celebrity Big Brother.

Darren Day has most recently starred in Sky TV comedy Stella, Holby City and Celebrity Big Brother.

"I remember my first ever theatre visit and it stayed with me forever. I think it's really important to make that first theatre visit for that child really positive so they really remember it."

Joining Captain Hook on stage is street dance troupe Flawless who competed in the third series of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and have been a mainstay of the hip-hop dance scene for over a decade.

This is Flawless' sixth pantomime and the group are starring as the Neverlanders - pals of Peter Pan and warriors of Neverland.

Professional dancer and coach Swoosh said: "It's been a new experience. When we started six years ago we were quite unsure at first and I feel like we've brought the cool factor and dance side of things when it comes to pantomime."

The troupe, who are currently on their Chase the Dream tour - will make four appearances in the Peter Pan performance and have choreographed their own dance routines, tailored to the story.

"It's the fact that we have creative freedom and it's a show that's fun to be a part of. We get to exercise our acting skills as well as dancing skills and just have fun on stage to be honest.

"Our experience of pantomime so far is that we've had just had a blast with the cast that we've been working with so that's given us that excitement and drive to do the next one, it's different to what we do from day to day."

Robin Colvill and James Brandon, better known as The Grumbleweeds, will star alongside them as Smee and Starkey, Captain Hook’s first mates. Abigail Dever, who has performed in hit Andrew Lloyd Webber music Starlight Express across the world since 2011, will play the role of Tinker Bell.

For more information or to book tickets, call Box Office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.