WHILE most of us wouldn’t want Captain Hook to turn up during Christmas dinner, flashing his hook and staring suspiciously at the mantlepiece carriage clock, for Gary Turner the festive season just wouldn’t be the same for without him.
When he stars in Peter Pan at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion this year, it will be his eighth time as the dastardly pirate with a morbid fear of crocodiles.
“That’s one of the downsides of the role,” laughs the 44-year-old. “But he is one of the most interesting villains and it’s a good laugh.
“If I didn’t play him, I don’t know what I’d do. I did get offered Abanazar (the wicked wizard in Aladdin) a few years ago and I thought ‘no, I want to do Hook, I like him.’
“Everybody loves to hate him. He does the things everybody would secretly like to do, when you’re in a bad mood or when you’re feeling grumpy – the way he’s rude to people and bosses them around – and he gets away with it.”
But beneath that beligerant exterior is a friendly pirate trying to get out, believes Turner. “Apart from him being a pirate, which is really exciting, he has this whole mystique,” says the ex-Emmerdale actor (he played Carlos Diaz from 2000-2001).
“He has this hook and he’s very suave and well-educated and ultimately he’s quite misunderstood.
“He just wants people to be nice to him. Then Peter Pan comes along and everybody loves him, and then he chops his hand off – so war!”
Turner, who is originally from Chester, will be joined by a team of comedy acrobats playing his motley crew.
“When you’re talking to the boys and girls after the show and you ask them they’re favourite bit, secretly hoping they’ll say, ‘It was you, Captain Hook’, but they always pick the acrobats,” he says.
PETER PAN is at the Floral Pavilion from December 13 to January 6; tickets: adults £16/£17, concs £14/£15, children £13/£14, family ticket for two adults and two children or one adult and three children £48/£52; 0151 666 0000, www.floralpa vilion.com