WHILE most of us wouldn’t want Captain Hook to turn up during Christmas dinner, flashing his hook and staring suspiciously at the mantelpiece carriage clock, for Gary Turner the festive season just wouldn’t be the same for without him.
When the actor 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.
“He is one of the most interesting villains and it’s a good laugh,” says the 44-year-old.
“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 feeling grumpy – the way he’s rude to people and bosses them around – and he gets away with it.”
But beneath that belligerent exterior is a friendly pirate trying to get out, believes Turner. “He has this hook and he’s very suave and well-educated and ultimately he’s quite misunderstood,” says the ex-Emmerdale and RSC actor (he played Carlos Diaz in the soap).
“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 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 their favourite bit, secretly hoping they’ll say, ‘It was you, Captain Hook’, but they always pick the acrobats,” he laughs.
See listings, left, for Peter Pan booking details.