A panto baddy veteran has hung up his hook to step into a more loveable, warm role.

And in return, A Touch of Frost star John Lyons will get to spend his first Christmas at home in 12 years.

The 69-year-old from Hackney will be playing Cinderella’s poor father, Baron Hardup, in Catford’s fairytale show.

He told Vibe: “For many years I have played villains in panto.

“But physically those parts were becoming a bit hard with the sword fighting, fencing and chasing kids so they came up with Baron Hardup for me and I’ve played him for the last three years.

“Cinderella’s new stepmother has left me for one of those fellows from Dragon’s Den and left me with the dragons.

“The part for me is perfect.

“This will be the first time in 12 years I will be at home for Christmas and that’s a bonus for me.

“Cinderella is probably the most famous panto in the world.

“Everybody knows the story.

“When the snow comes down from the ceiling and she is transformed into this beautiful princess in a big puff of smoke, you just get this magic Christmassy feeling.”

Although John will be playing a loving character he says adults will adore, he has very fond memories of his years as a baddy.

“My favourite part of panto is interacting with the audience.

“As a baddy you never know what children are going to shout at you – you have to be ready to ad-lib.

“When I was Abanazar eight years ago and I was on stage on my own saying ‘what to do, what am I to do?’ a little kid on the front row said ‘go home!’

“I love seeing the magic on the kids’ faces.”

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