Playing a serial killer in a popular soap is a pretty good grounding for almost anything – but particularly for going on to be a baddie in a panto.
And it’s just been announced that Brian Capron – aka Richard Hillman in Coronation Street – has been cast as wicked wizard Abanazar in Aladdin at Dunstable’s Grove Theatre this Christmas.
And he couldn’t be more delighted. “Being the most notorious villain of all time has opened up all sorts of avenues,” he admits.
His dramatic death after driving himself and his family into a canal was one of the most spectacular scenes in the series’ history. And his sinister performance as the evil financial adviser bent on destroying everyone in his path won him three gongs at the British Soap Awards – Best Actor, Best Exit and Villain of the Year.
Brian claims he never thought of himself as a song and dance man but after Corrie he was offered all sorts of parts including Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls and the narrator in Rocky Horror Show.
He came to panto late in life and has even played an ugly sister in Cinderella.
“When Jamie of Those Magic Beans asked me to do it I thought ‘Bloody hell, I’ve never done anything like that before,’” he smiles.
“Playing to packed houses of families and children at Christmas and hearing people laughing is an amazing experience. It’s very hard work but it’s lovely. I didn’t do panto last year and I really missed it.”
The father-of-three who lives in Brighton with his wife Jacqueline Bucknell is looking forward to treading the boards in Dunstable.
“The only time I’ve been in the area before was playing a porter called Ernie Penrose in General Hospital,” he recalls. “We did all the external shots at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital.”
Classically trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, his first love has always been the theatre. But he also enjoys the different pressures and techniques demanded by television and film.
And thanks to his notoriety, he’s in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose what he does.
Lucky for us Abanazar was on his wish list.
> Aladdin is produced by Those Magic Beans and will run at Dunstable’s Grove Theatre from December 8 to January 2, 2017.