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From LA to Bungay - TV star looks forward to Christmas with mum

PUBLISHED: 10:58 23 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:58 23 December 2016

Jeremy Edwards as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Paul Holman Associates

Jeremy Edwards as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Paul Holman Associates

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When Jeremy Edwards was offering his sixth run in panto there was only one theatre he wanted to work in.

Jeremy Edwards with his mum Janet Hazell Jeremy Edwards with his mum Janet Hazell

Despite living in Los Angeles, the 45-year-old actor asked specifically if he could play Gaston in Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre’s Christmas pantomime so he would have the chance to spend the festive season with his mum.

Janet Hazell has lived in Bungay for the past two years and is recognisable to many as a former Lowestoft music teacher - although her role as Jeremy’s mum has remained largely under the radar.

He said: “Mum moved to Bungay two or three years ago, but she lived in Pakefield for quite sometime and I used to go and stay with her there. Normally with panto you are put somewhere far away from home and then there’s a mad dash to get back for Christmas but I couldn’t do that because I live in LA.

“I have worked with Paul Holman before (pantomine producer) and he seemed very happy with what I did so I was very cheeky and asked if I could work in Lowestoft so I could get to stay with mum.

Jeremy Edwards as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Charlotte James Photography & Events Jeremy Edwards as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Charlotte James Photography & Events

“It’s a really nice part of the world, I like it here. Everyone is really friendly. There’s some great little pubs in Bungay and little walks. I really like Beccles too and Southwold. I went to Norwich Christmas shopping on my day off and was really impressed. The cast and I are going to go up there on the train and go bowling one day.”

This year is Jeremy’s sixth panto, having starred in Snow White and Aladdin at other theatres, and it’s the second time he’s played Gaston.

“It’s a play of two halves really as the first half I’m cheered and I come out and do all my numbers and then in the second I’m booed. I use the voice that I used last time I played Gaston and I do a bit of thrusting, which seemed to go down well. In fact a note was passed to me by Paul which told me to thrust a bit more!”

Jeremy is known for his roles as Kurt Benson in Hollyoaks and Danny Shaughnessy in Holby City, but currently he’s starring as Mike in CBBC’s Millie Inbetween, which he said was his favourite part to date.

The cast of Marina Theatre's Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Denise Bradley. The cast of Marina Theatre's Beauty and the Beast. Picture: Denise Bradley.

“I’m going for lots of auditions for all sorts of things, but nothing is confirmed. I have been doing lots of writing and directing and I’ve just done my first short film so I’m hoping make parts two and three. If I could I would hang up my acting shoes and put my directing hat on.”

Jeremy had been married to his wife Lydia for 12 years and the couple are expecting their first child in May.

“Christmas will be myself, my wife, my mum and my mum’s boyfriend, lots of nice food, booze and Christmas television. I’ve brought mum a big telly for Christmas so that will be put to use.

“After panto is finished I’m going straight to London to do a week as a panellist on The Wright Stuff and then it’s back to LA for more auditions and getting ready for the new arrival.”

Beauty and the Beast is at The Marina Theatre now until January 1, with performances twice daily on most days. For more information and to book tickets visit www.marinatheatre.co.uk/panto/ or call the box office on 01502 533200.

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