When a pirate ship sails into town, who better to call on than Peter Pan to keep the bad guys - and girls - at bay?
A scurvy gang of buccaneers docked up in Blackpool to promote Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure, which comes to the Opera House this Christmas, but luckily the boy who never grew up was on hand to distract them.
The Gazette’s Anna Cryer stowed away to get a taste of life on the ocean waves, and caught up with the stars of the show behind the scenes.
Peter Pan, who will be played by X Factor and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here star Jake Quickenden, challenged Captain Hook and his sidekick Smee, actress Jennifer Ellison and Radio Wave’s Scott Gallagher, to do battle over the games at Coral Island.
They even took a trip to the deep, exploring the spooky sunken hull of the Coral Crusader Galleon, aboard the ghost train.
The three stars were in town to launch the exciting new musical production which will premiere at the Opera House this Christmas season. Scott, who joined Radio Wave earlier this year as breakfast show co-presenter with Hayley Kay, is thrilled to have the chance to perform on the famous stage. Scott, who grew up in Kirkham and lives in North Shore, said: “Peter Pan was actually my first pantomime, in Middlesbrough in 2012 and I’ve been there each year since, so it’s gone full circle.
“And to be working at the Opera House, that’s something I never thought I would do.
“It’s going to be a really good cast; we are getting on well and having a laugh.
“Christmas is that time people want to be out and enjoying themselves and coming to the theatre. With that mindset, it’s set to be a great success straight away.”
Although the production is a new show, the cast and team from Selladoor are promising all the favourite characters from the JM Barrie story of the boy who never grew up, Wendy and her brothers John and Michael, a feisty fairy, the lost boys and a merry band of pirates.
And in a twist on the classic, Peter Pan’s arch nemesis Captain Hook is to be played by former Brookside actress Jennifer Ellison, bringing glamour to the role with the help of hair and make-up artists from the House Of Haltéres salon on Lytham Road.
“It’s nice to be playing a character, and type of character, I’ve never played before,” she said. “The theatre is an amazing place and a huge audience to play to.
“It’s just been done with a woman as Hook at the National Theatre, so if we do it right here it should be good.”
With a live band, lavish set and spectacular costumes, the sky’s the limit this Christmas as you’re taken on a magical journey to Neverland in this sensational, swashbuckling adventure. At the show’s launch event at the Winter Gardens, Jake treated guests to what they can expect from him musically, with a spine-tingling acoustic performance - confirming that he does have the X Factor.
Although he comes from Scunthorpe, the handsome reality star has made his home in the North West, living in Manchester with fiancee Danielle Fogarty. The pair recently announced their engagement, almost three years after they met at the I’m A Celebrity wrap party, when Jake was runner up to Danielle’s dad, superbike champ Carl Fogarty, who lives near Blackburn and has property in Lytham.
Jake revealed he’s been taking acting lessons in preparation for a move from music to musicals, and is excited to put his new skills to the test as he makes his acting debut in Peter Pan.
“I have been offered panto for a few years, but this really appealed to me, with it being more of a musical and something more serious,” he said.
“I’ve been taking acting lessons for about a year before this came up; I didn’t want to step into something like this without the experience.
“A lot of actors have worked really hard through drama school so I didn’t want to blag it. I took my own time and money because I wanted to better myself and prove I could do it.”