Interview: Daniel Brocklebank in Jack and the Beanstalk

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Daniel Brocklebank spoke to The Guide about his lead role in Jack And The Beanstalk, which begins a run of 26 performances at The Cresset theatre starting tonight (December 14).

Daniel Brocklebank spoke to The Guide about his lead role in Jack And The Beanstalk, which begins a run of 26 performances at The Cresset theatre starting tonight (December 14).Jack And The Beanstalk at The Cresset until December 30th.

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"It's going to be a great laugh," Daniel said.

"It's been a good 10 years since I've done anything like this."

Daniel said he is particularly looking forward to working with Alexis Cayle, who plays Jill in the production – the pair have been close friends for years.

"It will make it all the more enjoyable," he said.

"When you're doing something like panto, you're away from your family and friends, so it'll be good to have a friend there."

Trained in musical theatre, Daniel is perhaps best known for his role as Ivan Jones in Emmerdale, which he left in 2006 – does he look back fondly on his time on the show?

"Very much so – I had a great time," he said.

"I'd never done a soap before and it was a very different way of working. I'd been an actor for 12 years and I wasn't mentally prepared for how big the public love for the show was – it still astounds me."

Despite this, Daniel said the public's habit of confusing actor with soap character could sometimes be problematic.

"That was the one thing I did hate because I was playing a Geordie bisexual binman, and people can be confused . . . they'd say 'you don't speak in a Geordie accent!'".

Leaving the programme allowed Daniel to pursue other film and television work, but he admits to mixed feelings about Ivan's departure for Costa Rica.

"There's room for the character to go back and I wouldn't rule it out . . . it was liberating in a way, and terrifying in another. After playing the same person for two years, I did want to do other things, but I made some great mates on the show."

Daniel's work in the theatre has included a spell with the Royal Shakespeare Company, an experience which he says was invaluable to him very early in his career.

"I was actually brought up in Stratford-Upon-Avon, but my parents were not theatregoers in any sense.

"The RSC started my career, really – they were putting on a production of Lord Of The Flies and they asked kids from the local schools to audition, and my drama teacher said 'I think you should go'."

Cast in the lead role, Daniel was spotted by someone from the BBC, and his career was soon in the ascendant.

Not long afterwards, he was cast in Shakespeare In Love as one of the young men that took on female roles in the bard's era, a role that saw him share a brief kiss with Gwyneth Paltrow.

"She was dressed up as a boy and I was wearing a dress, so it was a bit kinky," he said.

"I was working on something called Merlin just before, which overlapped with Shakespeare In Love for seven weeks, and so I was working with people such as Rutger Hauer and Helena Bonham-Carter, and it was just fantastic."

With a diverse range of roles behind him, are there any parts he would love to do, but hasn't had the opportunity?

"There's millions in musical theatre, which is what I trained in, and sometimes I do think there's the fact that you can sing but it's wasted."

Did he never feel like taking part in Soapstar Superstar?

"I was asked to do that and I'm a Celebrity . . . why didn't I? I think they're naff," he said.

"I have a bit of an issue with reality television, to be honest – in the 14 years I've been an actor, the quality of programming has gone down a huge amount.

"If I wanted to go back to the RSC it might make things difficult if I'd been on one of those programmes . . . it's not the public that hires me."

Tickets for the 26 performances (including matinees, evenings and weekends) are available from 10 to 13.25.

Group bookings are available. Call 01733 265705 or 01733 842500 or visit www.cresset.co.uk.