Connor - ‘best Christmas ever’

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CBBC’s children’s presenter Connor Byrne is confidently expecting this Christmas to be the best he’s ever had as he makes his pantomime debut at Horsham’s Capitol.

Best known for his role as head care worker in the BAFTA award winning series Tracy Beaker Returns, Connor - who will be playing Fleshcreep - is a self-proclaimed panto virgin.

“And I am expecting to absolutely love it. I love singing. I love dancing. I love interacting with an audience. And I actually know some of the actors already.

“I am fully expecting it to be one of the great experiences of my life and one of my happiest Christmases ever.

“I trained as a dancer. I didn’t train as an actor. I trained as a ballet dancer and went on to dance in Israel and then came back to England. I did lots of musical theatre in the West End. I did Cats and Joseph, and I did musical theatre all over the country.

“But as you go through your career, you are always looking for new things. I went into a bit of straight theatre and TV and film. I do lots of weird noises. I do voice-overs and cartoons.”

In fact, he’s just been working on the big Disney epic John Carter Goes To Mars: “It required all sorts of different noises in crowd scenes and battle scenes. And that’s the talent that I have got.

“You are fine to specialise in the business if that earns you enough money to eat. But I am 47. I am not just doing it for the love of it. I am doing it... because I couldn’t do anything else! But God gave me the ability to bull**** and the ability to get people to believe what I am saying, and I will use that ability as much as I can!”

Horsham is a new venue for Connor - and a convenient one, a nice gentle commute, as he puts it, from his home in south-east London.

“That was the proviso from my wife. It had to be near. I go away a lot to film and I have got three small children.”

From whom, he gets no respect whatsoever, he laughs. However, if they ever meet his co-stars in shows, they are genuinely impressed.

“They are my kids. What do you expect!”

Jack And The Beanstalk runs for 44 performances from Thursday, until Monday, January 2. Tickets are available by calling the box office on 01403 750220 or www.thecapitolhorsham.com.