A VILLAINOUS former EastEnder has picked the equally evil role of Captain Hook for his panto debut this Christmas.

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"There’s no such thing as a nice Captain Hook – he’s the ultimate baddie, and I look forward to doing him justice."

Larry Lamb on his forthcoming panto role in Peter Pan

Larry Lamb, who played Archie Mitchell in BBC1 soap EastEnders, is set to star in his first ever pantomime, Peter Pan, at the Alban Arena in St Albans.

The Gavin & Stacey favourite said he was looking forward to exercising his evil skills for the part.

He said: “There’s no such thing as a nice Captain Hook – he’s the ultimate baddie, and I look forward to doing him justice. It’s a classic panto and my kids have always been desperate for me to do one.”

He added: “With pantomimes, you have to be known to be asked. It’s thanks to shows like EastEnders and Gavin & Stacey that I was approached for Peter Pan, and I wasn’t going to say no.

Former EastEnders star Larry Lamb outside the Alban Arena

“I think it’s a great honour to be part of a panto and any actor will tell you it looks good on the CV!”

Larry, whose character Archie was voted Villain of the Year at this year’s British Soap Awards, lives a short train journey away in North London and said that he remembered St Albans from his youth.

“I used to come to St Albans on the number 84 bus from my home in Edmonton to go and see Roman Verulamium. It’s a pretty city and because I live so close, it will be easy for me to get to Alban Arena rehearsals come Christmas time.”

Larry and his fellow cast members, including 23-year-old CBeebies presenter Katy Ashworth, who plays Peter Pan, already have the panto script and, come November, they will have only two weeks to perfect the show, which will start on December 10 and run until January 2, 2011.

Katy Ashworth, who will play Peter Pan, and Larry Lamb at the Alban Arena panto launch

Larry, who said that his young daughters would want a seat at every show, said that he grew up wanting to be a dentist, doctor or businessman, but fell into professional acting aged 27.

He said: “It all kicked off with theatre and I gradually got into TV from there.

“If you’re a big bloke and working class, that tends to push you towards a particular character, but I have been lucky in the range of roles I’ve played. EastEnders was an unforgettable experience and I have such fond memories of it.”

Peter Pan promises dazzling sets and costumes, musical numbers and fun-packed family comedy.

Tickets start at £15 and for more information visit the Alban Arena website.

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