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Bromley's most famous bobby is back on the beat in new Soap Opera
Britain’s best-loved policeman is plodding on stage with Dirty Den and a whole host of soapy characters as you’ve never seen them before.
Graham Cole, aka PC Tony Stamp in ITV’s The Bill, is on the beat again in arresting new show, Soap Opera.
The Bromley-dwelling actor will be joined by Leslie Grantham (EastEnders’ Dirty Den), Louis Emerick (Mick Johnson in Brookside), and Michelle Gayle (Hattie Tavernier in EastEnders) when struggling soap Hollyenders Street airs at Fairfield Halls in Croydon.
Graham told News Shopper: “There are nine of us in the cast – it’s rather lovely.
“We all play two characters - our part in the play and our characters in Hollyenders Street.
“Everything we’ve ever done in soaps, we throw into it.
“In Hollyenders Street Lesley Grantham plays the archetypal baddy and I’m a uniformed policeman - what else would you expect?
“I’m meek and mild, and then all the roles reverse.
“It’s so different, really cleverly written and the audience laugh their little heads off.
“If you don’t leave smiling, I’ll give your money back.”
Graham, who has been acting for 40 years, promises Soap Opera is unlike anything people will have seen in the theatre for a very long time and includes lots of technicality and CCTV.
He added: “There’s a bit of nudity from myself, if that’s of interest.
“My entrance gets one of the big laughs and to know it’s coming is lovely.
“My character is very full of himself and thinks he should be acting in Shakespeare plays – he thinks he should’ve been Bond.
“I always wanted to be a Bond baddy, a spy who had all the same gear as Bond but his just didn’t work.”
Although The Bill was cancelled in 2010, Graham has never given up his beloved copper character.
He continued: “I do a lot of work with the police in Bromley and all over the country filming health and safety DVDs for policemen to watch.
“They bring me in because they know a familiar face will make it as entertaining as possible.
“It’s a kind of John Cleese style of health and safety.”
After 25 years of playing a bobby, Graham was even made an honorary member of the National Association of Police Organisations (NAPO).
He said: “It was so, so lovely.
“I did all my stunts on the show and had racing lessons.
“I love motorcars and I was given a police car with flashing lights and sirens – they’d say, ‘can you do that bit again, but a bit faster?’ and I’d say ‘I suppose so’.”
Much of The Bill was filmed around Croydon, where Graham is returning for Soap Opera.
He joked: “I arrested more prostitutes than ever on those streets.
“Seriously though, I was thanking God this morning for my life and for the enjoyment of what I do.
“To be able to do what you love is fantastic.”
In 29 years of performing pantomimes however, Graham has never been able to secure a role in his hometown’s theatre The Churchill.
He said: “I really want to do panto in my hometown, it would be so great.
“Maybe we can run a campaign next year – get Cole home for Christmas.”
Soap Opera runs at Fairfield Halls between September 25 and September 29.
Hollyoaks star Lee Otway and comedian Hattie Hayridge from Red Dwarf also star in the show.
For bookings visit fairfield.co.uk