Children's favourite to be a baddie

For millions of children in the '80s, he was a companion to Hamble, Big Ted and Jemima.And now, former Playschool favourite Derek Griffiths is coming to Norwich.

For millions of children in the '80s, he was a companion to Hamble, Big Ted and Jemima.

And now, former Playschool favourite Derek Griffiths is coming to Norwich.

The musician and storyteller will play one-handed villain Captain Hook in this year's Theatre Royal pantomime, Peter Pan.

It will be a first visit to the city for the veteran entertainer in 30 years.

He will link up with Rikki Jay, playing Smee, and Richard Gauntlett, as Peter, who will write the show together, having created the last three pantomimes for the Theatre Royal.

Special effects and surprises are promised, as Peter takes on Captain Hook in a swashbuckling fight for Neverland.

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Since sharing a studio with Brian Cant and Floella Benjamin, Mr Griffiths has made a name for himself on the West End stage with performances in Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast and as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

"I last performed in Norwich in the early '70s at the start of my career in a musical called The Fantastics, so I am looking forward to finally returning," he said. "I have performed in productions of Peter Pan before, both as Captain Hook and Smee – it's great fun."

Peter Pan, the pantomime, will run from December 16 to January 15. Tickets will cost between £4 and £14.50 with discounts available for Friends, over-60s, under-18s and groups.

Booking for Friends is already open, while booking for the public will start on May 3 by post, fax and online, and May 9 in person and by phone. For more information, visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.

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